Peyton Manning’s at that weird point in his career where every game feels like it can be his last one before he rides off into the sunset. It seems like Manning is aware that he’s at that point, and there have been a few signs that imply that he’s going to hang them up after the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl.
First, there was the conversation that Manning had with Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the AFC Championship Game. Manning told Belichick that this may be his “last rodeo,” which doesn’t definitely mean that the Super Bowl is his last game, but he was certainly contemplating retirement pretty recently.
Now, there is a report that came out on Monday from NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, which further implies that Manning may be looking at hanging them up after this season. Manning reportedly told a handful of people close to him that he expects the Super Bowl to be his final game, and Rapoport said that he kind of gave himself away when the cameras picked up his interaction with Belichick.
“The reality is he let the cat out of the bag a little bit,” Rapoport said. “I also know he has told close friends that he expects this to be his last game as well.”
Rapoport also mentioned that there wouldn’t be a timetable for Manning’s decision, noting that he could announce the news as soon as Media Day on Monday night.
This really is shaping up to be a fairytale ending for Manning if the Broncos could win (plus it would remind a lot of people of the way that former Denver QB and current General Manager and Executive Vice President of Football Operations John Elway went out when he retired). Even if Denver loses and Manning’s career ends on a sour note, it’ll still be awesome watching one of the greatest quarterbacks ever compete one last time.