At Long Last, Peyton Retires


By: Connor Lenahan

Today marks one of the happiest days I have ever had as a football fan. That’s because Peyton Manning has officially announced his retirement from the NFL. I know that sounds weird, but bear with me for a second.

From a sheer football standpoint this makes for a far less compelling NFL. Let’s be honest here – the most interesting players in the league are quarterbacks nine times out of ten. In rare occasions you get world destroyers like JJ Watt or Adrian Peterson or potentially Todd Gurley. But the quarterback is the center of attention. Peyton Manning was an uber-successful, although likely under-successful leader of two separate teams to four Super Bowls. He literally owns every passing record imaginable. He won five MVPs. He had the single best season by a quarterback in history in 2013. These are all amazing feats that can’t be overlooked. The world of football is far less interesting without Peyton, who is almost assuredly going into the Hall of Fame with 99% of the vote, if not more.

This isn’t a great day for NFL storylines. This is in fact a great day for Peyton Manning as a human.

This is not the first time I’ve written about Peyton’s need to retire. Thankfully this will likely be the last. Four neck surgeries over his 18 year career, not to mention, you know, playing football for over two decades, has beaten his body up beyond words. This is a dude that can’t feel the tips of his fingers any more.

I am sympathetic to injury given my own history. I am especially sympathetic to lasting effects of injuries – I’ve used my wheelchair most every day since a broken femur in 2005. It’s imperative to understand the limit of one’s body and to lessen the chances of severe injury. That’s been my entire life. Peyton was already breaking down, if he wasn’t broken down by this year’s Super Bowl. His time to leave was likely a year or two ago, but it’s hard to fault him for sticking around to get a second ring and go out on his terms.

Thank you for making football entertaining, Peyton, and thank you for stepping away at the top so we didn’t have to endure the pain of watching something worse happen to you than deserved.