Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report expects Peyton Manning to retire from the NFL if the Denver Broncos end up winning the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Freeman doesn’t buy Manning’s recent comments, which are below.
“I know that there have been a number of players who have walked away as champions,” Manning said. “I’m sure that it is a great feeling for those people. John Elway. Ray Lewis did it last year. And Michael Strahan. In talking to Ray Lewis, and talking to John Elway, they couldn’t play anymore. It was all they had to give. They truly left it all out there. I certainly had a career change two years ago with my injury and with changing teams. I’ve been truly on a one-year-at-a-time basis.
“So, I really have no plans beyond this game. I had no plans, coming into this season, beyond this year. I think that it is the healthy way to approach your career at this stage. I still enjoy playing football. I feel a little better than I thought I would at this point, coming off that surgery. I still enjoy the preparation part of it, the work part of it. Everybody enjoys the games. Everybody is going to be excited to play in a Super Bowl. When you still enjoy the preparation and the work part of it, I think you ought to be still doing that. I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can’t produce, if I can’t help a team, that’s when I will stop playing. If that’s next year, then maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing.”
Typical Manning: smart, measured, on point. It’s also bull.
I don’t believe it for a second, and I can tell you few people around the NFL believe it. Almost everyone thinks Manning is gone if he wins and plays well in the victory. In fact, many believe Manning is gone, win or lose.
The belief around football is that Manning is saying he hasn’t made up his mind because he doesn’t want to be the story of Super Bowl week. Imagine the pressure on the Broncos if Manning came out and said, “Yeah, I’m gone after this, dude. See ya.” It would be one of the biggest stories in Super Bowl history. Manning is a lot smarter than that.
It only makes sense for Manning to retire if the Broncos win this Sunday. He wouldn’t have anything else to prove. He’s already a future Hall of Famer and winning another championship would quiet everyone who says he’s not a great postseason player. There would be nothing else for him to prove.