Peyton Manning’s Retirement After 18 Seasons In The NFL Ends With A Happy, Tearful Goodbye

By  //  March 8, 2016

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ABOVE VIDEO: Peyton Manning revisits some of his greatest moments throughout his 18-year career and gives his gratitude to all the coaches, players, and fans that supported him along the way. (NFL Video)

Former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement Monday afternoon at the Broncos complex in Englewood Colorado.

After 18-years in the National Football League, No.18 was very emotional and was extremely thankful to a sport that was as good to him as he was to it.

Wherever you believe Manning belongs in history, you can’t deny he will be remembered as one of the legendary signal callers of all-time.

Many fans wonder if athletes will miss a sport they retire from, especially after spending nearly two decades playing it at such a high level with as much time as Manning devoted to it.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

“When someone thoroughly exhausts an experience they can’t help but revere it”, Manning said in tears.

“I revere football. I love the game. So you don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely (tearing up) — Absolutely”

Manning reflected on his career as only he could do Monday in his retirement speech–with class and that country boy aw-shucks Manning grace.

In just under 13-minutes Manning thanked 18 coaches and 18 current or future hall of players. He added in two NFL cities, two franchises, the University of Tennessee, his family, his agent and four members of the media, which included former Raiders head coach John Madden and NY Giants kicker Pat Sumrall.

Manning managed to sum up his 18 seasons, five MVP awards, two Super Bowl wins and a pile of records with one last “Omaha.” Manning is a no doubt first ballot Hall of Famer and essentially produced two hall of fame careers.

After playing for 14 seasons and playing in 227 games for the Indianapolis Colts, Manning was released at the end of the 2011 season—a season he didn’t play in due to his recovery from a fourth neck surgery.

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After playing for 14 seasons and playing in 227 games for the Indianapolis Colts, Manning was released at the end of the 2011 season—a season he didn’t play in due to his recovery from a fourth neck surgery. (Image by Ben Liebenberg, NFL)

His release came amidst speculation that the Colts, who held the No.1 overall pick in that April’s NFL draft would select QB Andrew Luck, whom Manning also mentioned in his speech.

Following his release from Indy, Manning signed a free agent deal with Denver and all he did in the Mile-High city was win over 50 games, win four straight division championships, lose only three division games in four years–none on the road and beat the Patriots in two championship games.

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Former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement Monday afternoon at the Broncos complex in Englewood Colorado. (NFL Image)

He won NFL Comeback Player of the Year, another MVP, the offense he guided set single-season passing record while he broke a couple more all-time records, and they went on to play in two Super Bowls, winning one.

Manning wasn’t known for his arm strength or athleticism. No. 18 beat you with his head and preparation. Nobody prepared more than Manning and he seemed to be most proud of that fact during his retirement speech.

“Pundits will speculate that my effort and drive over the past 18 years were about mastery and working to master every aspect of the NFL game” Manning said.

‘Well, don’t believe them. Because every moment, every drop of sweat, every bleary-eyed night of preparation, every note I took and every frame of film I watched was about one thing, reverence for this game.”



”When I look back on my NFL career, I’ll know without a doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with a win. There were other players who were more talented but there was no one could out-prepare me and because of that I have no regrets.”

What he accomplished and the memories he left behind will forever be talked about amongst NFL fans of every team. In fact, he left behind so many it’s simply too hard to write about all of them.

Manning leaves the games as the all-time leader in passing yards (71,940) and touchdowns with 539 in the regular season. He tossed another 40 in the postseason. Manning threw for an average of 270.45 yards per game; among quarterbacks with at least 150 starts, only New Orleans’ Drew Brees has averaged more yardage per game. He led the league in passing touchdowns in 2000 (33), 2004 (49), 2006 (31), and 2013 (55).

The win in Super Bowl 50 gave Manning his 200th career win in games he started, the most all time.

This total includes 186 in the regular season and 14 in the postseason. The regular-season tally is tied with Brett Favre for the most all-time, but the combined total of 200 surpassed Favre’s by one.

Speaking of 50, that’s how many different players hauled in touchdown passes from Manning. Fourteen of them caught exactly one touchdown pass.

All of Manning’s preparation paid off, he leaves the game as nearly the most efficient quarterback in history. Manning’s career quarterback efficiency rating is 96.5, just 0.6 points behind all-time leader (minimum 150 games played) Tony Romo’s 97.1 figure.

Give it time, Manning will pass him as he watches from the couch.

ABOVE VIDEO: 2015 was a different type of season for NFL great Peyton Manning. We take a look back at the highs & lows that made up the roller coaster final season of an all-time great. (NFL Video)

No lead was ever safe when No.18 stepped on the field in the fourth quarter.

Manning is currently the all-time leader in game winning drives at 56, five ahead of Dan Marino.

Ask Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans if they remember a certain Monday Night game in 2003 in which No.18 led the Indianapolis Colts to 14 of the 21 points they scored with less than four minutes to play to complete the largest comeback in NFL history with that amount of time to play in a game.

The victory would be completed in overtime with a 29-yard field goal by his “liquored up” kicker, Mike Vanderjagt.

Manning also holds the most comeback wins all-time (45) by eight games to current New England Patriots QB Tom Brady (37).

Speaking of Patriots QB Tom Brady, there is no doubt Brady and Manning will forever be linked in their careers by their classic games against each other.

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The two squared off 17 times and rarely disappointed. Brady holds the overall edge 11-6 during 15 years of clashes but Manning won three of the five postseason matchups including this past January’s epic AFC Championship game. (Image by Chris Brodeur)

Brady and Manning are arguably the two best to ever square off in one generation of football and fans are split as to where they stand on both its either Team Brady or Team Manning.

The two squared off 17 times and rarely disappointed. Brady holds the overall edge 11-6 during 15 years of clashes but Manning won three of the five postseason matchups including this past January’s epic AFC Championship game.

The two seemed to one-up the other on multiple occasions throughout Manning’s career.

ABOVE VIDEO: Watching two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have had many epic battles over their careers. (NFL Video)

In 2013, Manning led the Denver offense to 606 points, which broke the previous single season record of 589 set by Brady’s 2007 Patriots. Many in the Brady camp point to Brady’s 22-9 mark in the playoffs and four Super Bowls as the reason Tommy Terrific is a better all time signal caller. After all, the 22 wins in the postseason are the most all time.

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Some may claim Manning as the greatest all-time regular season signal caller.

Five league MVP’s, 14 straight trips to the Pro-Bowl and Manning was named player of the week a record 27 times—that’s one full season and 10 weeks of another as the top player.
With 14 career postseason victories, including the win in Super Bowl 50, Manning tied with Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway and Terry Bradshaw for the third-most playoff wins in NFL history by a starting quarterback.

Peyton Manning

– Oldest quarterback (age 39) to ever start and win a Super Bowl

– First starting quarterback ever to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises.

“I’m totally convinced that the end of my football career is just the beginning of something I haven’t even discovered yet. Life is not shrinking for me; it’s morphing into a whole new world of possibilities.”

According to Forbes, Manning ranked as the 32nd highest-paid athlete for 2015 with total earnings of $27 million which included $15 million in salaries and $12 million in endorsements from the likes of Buick, DirecTV, Gatorade, Nationwide and Papa John’s.

Manning became a Papa John’s pizza franchisee in 2012 when he signed a deal to own 25 stores in the Denver area.

Manning’s retirement ends another legendary sports career that makes all of us feel a little older but blessed to have seen greatness in action for so long.

It’s been a rough road lately for sports fans—Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant in April and now Peyton Manning.
However, Manning’s retirement ends a storied career but with a fitting end, he joins an elite company of  NFL legends John Elway, Michael Strahan and Ray Lewis as the most recent players to ride off into the sunset hoisting the Lombardi trophy.

‘The Sheriff’ will be missed, but not forgotten.

ABOVE VIDEO: NFL Films recaps the legendary career of former Colts & Broncos QB Peyton Manning. (NFL Video)


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