Peyton doesn’t need everyone’s advice
Can someone please explain to me why so many people want Peyton Manning to quit playing football?
Since Denver lost to Indianapolis in the NFL quarterfinals, many newspaper columnists, website bloggers, radio talk show hosts and TV commentators sound like a discordant chorus, saying Manning, a five-time MVP, is washed up.
Google Peyton Manning and retirement and you’ll find pundits in the Washington Post, USA Today, si.com, Denver Post and others saying Manning should retire.
They are saying this after Manning finished the 2014 season with the fourth highest passing rating in the league (ahead of both Tom Brady and Drew Brees).
They are saying this after Manning threw for 295 yards per game and 39 touchdowns, compared with 15 interceptions.
They are saying this after he led the Broncos to a 12-4 record.
You ask me, it’s a knee-jerk reaction to Manning’s admittedly sub-par performance against the Colts when he threw for 211 yards, one touchdown (and no interceptions), but missed badly on several deep throws he normally hits. (Afterward, we learned Manning was playing late in the season and in the playoffs with a painful quadriceps injury in his right thigh that surely limited any football move he made).
Manning, who will turn 39 next month, is the smartest football player I have ever witnessed. He doesn’t quarterback games so much as he conducts them like an orchestra. He is a football genius. If he believes he can play at a high level for another season, then, of course, he should. He remains one of the top four or five quarterbacks in the game.
And there’s this: If he plays and remains healthy, Manning would almost surely break Brett Favre’s NFL career passing record. He would likely break Favre’s record for most victories as a starting quarterback. Who wouldn’t want that as part of his legacy?
Favre kept playing at a high level year after year when pundits said he should retire.
Because he loved to play the game.
Peyton Manning loves to play football. He loves the preparation. He loves the competition. He still plays at an incredibly high level. If he wants to play, obviously, he should play.
Favre has said as much, saying that if Manning believes he can play and wants to play, he should play. Favre said the worst of all things would be spending the rest of your life wondering “what if.”
Said Favre, “If you’re worried about ‘what if,’ then go ahead and play. If you fail, at least then you know.”
And what constitutes failure for a quarterback, anyway? Just one man’s opinion: Throwing for 39 touchdowns and leading your team to 12 regular season victories and the playoffs does not.
If Peyton decides it’s best he should retire, then he should. I, for one, will miss watching him play.
But if he wants to play, then by all means…