DENVER: Peyton Manning made it official in Denver on Monday afternoon giving an emotional press conference to announce his retirement from football. Manning had a luxurious career a 14 time pro bowler, five time MVP, the all time regular season win leader, a two time super bowl champion including winning super MVP of Super Bowl 41 with the Colts, and setting the NFL Touchdown Pass Record, and Passing Yard Record. Peyton Manning is among the greatest ever to put on the pads. Growing up in New Orleans in a football family Peyton Manning knew from a young age exactly what he wanted to do. Be an NFL Quarterback.
After an outstanding High School career he decided not to attend his parents alma mater, older brother Cooper and later his younger brother Eli Ole Miss choosing to attend the University Of Tennessee.
He started his freshman year as a third string quarterback however, just four games into his freshman season Peyton became the starting Quarterback a job he would never give up. He led the Volunteers to an 8-4 season that Freshman season including a bowl game victory against Virginia Tech.
His sophomore season Peyton led the Vols to just a one loss season winning the Citrus Bowl over Ohio State.
The team came into his Junior Year ranked second behind the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The Vols however lost two games that season settling for another Citrus Bowl Trip winning again over Ohio ST in a game Peyton took home MVP honors.
That left Peyton with a dilemma forgo his Senior Year and head to the NFL, or stay in Knoxville one more year. He shocked the world including Knoxville when he chose to stay on Rocky Top in Tennessee. His senior year would be his best year. Manning led the Vols to a 10-1 season and an SEC Championship the team played for the national championship against the Nebraska Cornhuskers where the Vols fell. Peyton would finish runner-up to Charles Woodson defensive back who also retired after the 2015-16 season for the Heisman Trophy.
In 1998 Peyton Manning was selected by the Colts as the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft as he was chosen by the Colts to be the franchise Quarterback. This would be the beginning of 14 incredible seasons in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning personally set many different records in his first NFL season. Including both the NFL rookie Touchdown Passing record, and interception rookie. Peyton was named a first team all rookie but the Colts had a terrible season finishing 3-13.
In 1999 Peyton Manning and the Colts began a dynasty like run where they seemed to be postseason bound every season. From 2003-2009 Payton led the Colts to 12+ wins each season. In 1999 the Colts went 13-3 losing in the postseason to the eventual AFC Champion Titans. Manning reached his first of 14 pro bowls that season.
Peyton between the years of 2000-2005 would lead the Colts to the playoffs each year except for 2001, winning two NFL MVPs (2003, and 2004) and a Walter Peyton Manning award, he also made the pro bowl each season except for 2001 during that five year span.
It seemed the only thing missing from Peyton Manning’s already amazing resume was a super bowl win. That’s win 2006 came around. Peyton had led the Colts to the playoffs in the years of 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 yet was never able to get Indy into the super bowl.
The Colts entered the 2006 playoffs as the number three seed in the AFC. Peyton led the Colts past the Chiefs and Ravens in the first two rounds setting up an AFC Championship matchup with Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Colts fell behind to New England 21-3 at half but Peyton and the colts fought back scoring 32 points in the second half winning the game 38-34 and sending Peyton Manning to his first super bowl.
The Colts took on the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl 41 Manning passed for 247 yards and a touchdown taking home Super Bowl MVP Honors and bringing home a super bowl to Indianapolis Peyton Manning was finally a super bowl champion.
From 2007-2010 Peyton Manning counties to get the Colts into the postseason and reached the super bowl in 2009 but would fall to the New Orleans Saints in super bowl 44. Peyton in this four season span won two more NFL MVP’s (2008 and 2009) and was a pro bowler each year.
2010 however would be Peyton’s last year playing for the Colts. Prior to the 2011 NFL Season Peyton suffered a neck injury he missed the entire season and as a result the Colts went 2-14 finishing with the NFL’s worst record leaving the team with a dilemma. Cut Peyton and draft Stanford Quarterback Andrew Luck number one overall who was clearly going to be a star at the NFL level, or keep Peyton and hope he could stay healthy. The Colts went with the letting Peyton walk choice. Manning and the Colts parted ways leaving Peyton a four time MVP Quarterback on the free agent market.
Manning chose to sign with the Denver Broncos and boy would that be an amazing choice. In his first year Manning led the Broncos to the postseason as the AFC’s top seed. Manning took home the NFL Comeback Player of the year and was named to yet another pro bowl.
2013 would be a special year for Manning. Week one the Broncos took on the team that knocked them out of the postseason in 2012 and the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Manning would make history becoming just the sixth players to throw seven touchdowns in a game. That would pave way to a season for the ages. Manning threw 55 touchdown passed braking the NFL all time single season passing touchdown record, throwing for 5,477 yards, and 450 completions. Manning would lead the Broncos to super Bowl 48 where they would be demolished by the Seattle Seahawks. Manning however still took home NFL MVP Honors the 5th of his career, and reached his third super bowl falling for the second time.
In 2014 Peyton would yet again lead his team to a first round playoff bye as the AFC’s second seed. On a Sunday night in Denver against the 49ers Manning became the NFL all time Passing Touchdown leader with touchdown pass number 509. The Broncos would fall to Manning’s former team the Colts in the divisional round however falling short of reaching another Super Bowl.
2015 in what was Peyton Manning’s last rodeo was simply one hell of a ride. The Broncos started the season 7-0 however Peyton Manning threw at least one pick in each game. In week 10 at home against the division rival Chiefs Manning would both make history, and have one of the worst games of his life. Manning broke Brett Favre’s record for career passing yards early on in the game. Manning went on to throw four picks that day however and was benched for backup Brock Osweiler. It was later revealed Manning had suffered a foot injury that sat him out until week 17 against the woeful Chargers. Thanks to a loss earlier in the day by the New England Patriots the Broncos had the ability to clinch homefield advantage for the postseason with a win. Trailing in the Third Quarter Coach Gary Kubiak made the decision giving the Bronco quarterback job back to the sheriff Peyton Manning after Osweiler threw two picks, and lost a fumble. Manning came in and led the team to a 27-20 victory clinching the AFC’s top seed and as a result was named the Broncos starter heading into the postseason.
Manning would lead the Broncos past the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional round setting up one last epic Brady VS Peyton battle. It would be Peyton’s day as the Broncos held on to a lead set-up by two Manning touchdown passes to Tight End Owen Daniels as the Broncos moved onto Super Bowl 50 VS Carolina.
Super Bowl 50 wasn’t pretty. Neither Peyton Manning or Cam Newton could get anything going offensively but the Broncos defense proved to tough for the Panthers. Manning did not have a great day going 13-23 with a pick, five sacks, and no touchdowns, but still took home a second Vince Lombardi Trophy tying him with his younger brother Eli of the New York Giants at two super bowl championships.
What a way for perhaps the best Quarterback of all time to go out riding into the sunset. Sunday’s will not be the same without #18 on the field.