Peyton Manning Should Follow John Elway’s Lead, Ride Off Into Sunset

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Peyton Manning didn’t want to make a rash decision after his Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50.

Hopefully after a few Budweisers he changes his mind and pulls a Marshawn Lynch by first joining Twitter and then posting a picture of his cleats hung up underneath a peace sign emoji.

This has nothing to do with Manning the person, who genuinely seems like a great guy — nothing unlikable about him whatsoever. And it was fine to see him go out on top in the win against the Carolina Panthers, tying his brother Eli with two Super Bowl rings. But that’s what he needs to do: ride off into the sunset on a peaceful white Bronco and move on to a TV gig or a cushy job in a team’s executive office. What he shouldn’t do is move to Los Angeles or New York and hop aboard a bucking Ram or unruly Jet in an attempt to grind out one more season with his broken-down body.

Manning can win a Super Bowl with the defense he shared a sideline with Sunday after a half season of playing time. His defense was so good they shut down an only slightly banged up New England Patriots team and the Panthers’ top-ranked offensive unit in consecutive games. He can’t be counted on to a carry a team, which he’d be asked to do by joining any other team in the NFL. Quite frankly, it’s not very fun watching a 39-year-old Manning falling down and throwing interceptions directly into defenders’ outstretched hands.

Manning wasn’t good Sunday. Folks likely will forget that because of “quarterback wins,” but not all signal-caller successes should be treated equally. Manning earned his all-important second Super Bowl title. That’s it. Throw in the towel.

Manning went 13 of 23 for 141 yards with an interception and five sacks. He was trusted to throw the ball just three times in the final quarter and seven times in the second half. The Broncos fourth-quarter offense through their final two games was, like going for a casual stroll, merely a way to pass time. If a blockade was put up, there was no struggle to be had. They would simply punt and trust their defense to get the job done, which they did.

Manning certainly is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, but not even his before-the-snap smarts and decision-making skills were enough to come close to getting the job done offensively in 2015, when he completed just 59.8 percent of his passes for 2,249 yards with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions and was effectively benched or given up on after foot injuries interrupted his season.

This was Manning’s “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood.” We don’t need him to “Take Manhattan.”

It’s time for Manning to retire, and it really doesn’t need a be a process dragged on all offseason — though it likely will.

Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Feb 7, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

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