Peyton Manning should retire at the top of the game

Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi
Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi /

Few players ever get to retire on top and thanks to an outstanding team effort, Peyton Manning gets just that option to end his Hall of Fame career.

After years of carrying, sometimes dragging, his team’s to the playoffs Peyton Manning and company won the Super Bowl with an unreal defensive performance. Not unlike his boss John Elway (who had errily similar numbers in his final game), Manning gets the option of whether or not he should finish his career after winning his second championship.

For a man who carried his teams for so many years it was nice to see Manning lifted up by his defense for once. Manning should take that $2 million bonus for winning the Super Bowl and go ahead and sign it over to Von Miller and the rest of the defense. Their performance over the past two games changed Manning’s entire legacy in the eyes of the national media.

Manning dodged the question about his retirement, citing advice from former coach Tony Dungy. Dungy told him not to make an emotional decision right after the fact. On the Dan Patrick Show, Dungy said that before Super Bowl 41 he was sure he was going to retire but a few weeks after the season ended decided he wanted to keep coaching.

More from Horseshoe Heroes

Manning situation isn’t really the same. Dungy could still coach if he wanted to, and he certainly wouldn’t have any shortage of job offers. Manning has watched his body break down over the past two years. In 2014 it was the quad injury, this season the plantar fascia that sidelined him for seven weeks.

Sometimes players get to choose when they want to retire. Look at Marshawn Lynch and Calvin Johnson, both players who still have a lot left to give to the game but both have made their money and are walking away. Manning was incredibly healthy for most of his career but there is no question that his body is start to let him down. He doesn’t have the arm strength anymore and with his legs breaking down, he doesn’t have the same zip on the ball he used to.

Manning has essentially gotten four bonus years following multiple procedures on his neck back in 2011. Even Manning admitted that he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to play again at that point, but his next two seasons in Denver would be MVP worthy.

This season Manning has barely even held the role of game manager. Just think what the Broncos would have done to the Panthers had this been Peyton Manning from just two years ago?

There is a very real chance that the Broncos don’t even want to bring Manning back next year and they seem ready to move on the Brock Osweiler (or whoever ends up being their quarterback). So does Manning really want to start over in a new city with a new team and with his diminished skills? The last thing he probably wants to do is be compared to “will-he-or-won’t-he” Brett Favre.

Next: What the Colts can learn from the Broncos

There is nothing left for Manning to prove heading forward. He’s checked off every little box that has been on his career “To-Do” list. He’s won multiple championships, set records for every passing stat, and has an unprecedented number of MVP trophies (six included his Super Bowl 41 MVP).

Why would Manning even consider coming back to the NFL for another season?

The real question for Peyton: what is he going to do next?