As a guy who spends his Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays from September-December watching NFL Football, I’ll fully admit that it’s going to be very weird to see the 2016 season take shape without “The Sheriff” under center.
Peyton Manning is one of the most dominant players in the history of the league. Week in and week out, you expected to see Manning with both the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos be at his very best, frustrating opposing defenses and lighting up the scoreboard.
For almost two decades, Manning dominated the sport and you wondered what he would do next to wow you.
He won five MVP awards, the most of any player. He’s the all-time leader in career touchdown passes, yards and wins.
He’s the only quarterback to win the Super Bowl with two different teams.
With Manning, his excellence on the field goes beyond simply the numbers. He revolutionized the position with his cadence, brilliance and mastery of a no-huddle offense that was copied all over the league.
It was a treat to watch Manning suit up every football Sunday. It was even more of a treat to watch him in one of the great individual rivalries in the history of sports.
Manning’s great battles with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots over the years delivered some of the finest theater the NFL has ever seen.
It was fitting that in Manning’s final year, he and his Denver Broncos needed to get by Brady and the Patriots in order to win the Super Bowl.
You never thought you’d see the day where the ageless wonder would call it a career, but Father Time is undefeated.
The struggle many athletes have over their careers is when to realize enough is enough.
Peyton Manning was smart enough to realize that in 2015, he did not resemble the dominant player he once was.
This past season, Manning had his worst statistical season of his career. He only threw nine touchdowns with 17 interceptions and was benched due to injury and poor play in a game in late November against the Kansas City Chiefs.
I’ll admit, I wondered if that would be the last time I ever saw Peyton Manning in an NFL uniform.
Manning was able to rest for the month of December, he regained the starting job in the regular season finale, and had enough juice in the tank to make one last run at a championship.
It’s why I found myself pulling for Manning and the Broncos throughout the postseason. There’s something to be said for seeing the great athlete have the opportunity to ride off into the sunset as a champion.
Yes, Manning won his second Super Bowl because he had the luxury of playing with one of the best defensive units in the history of the sport.
However, Manning was smart enough to realize that he was a part of something special. He accomplished everything you could possibly accomplish in an NFL uniform and acknowledged that it was time to say goodbye.
I’ll miss hearing “Omaha” being screamed in my living room each and every Sunday,
Thanks #18. It’s been a pleasure watching every minute of your NFL career. You’ll be missed.
You can listen to me Wednesday (10-2 a.m.) & Sunday (2-6 a.m.) on WFAN Sports Radio 66 AM/101.9 FM.