January 29, 2014

What does Peyton Manning’s future hold?

by Dan Bilicki In: Football

While there has been much talk about Peyton Manning’s legacy leading up to the Super Bowl and if a win would make him the greatest QB of all-time, the real question is what the future holds for the Broncos all-world QB.

The reality is that, at 37-years-old, Manning’s career is near its end. There’s no way around that. It’s very rare that players even make it to play at 38 in this league, let alone after four neck surgeries.

So, could Manning retire after the Super Bowl? He may say that he’s not thinking about it, but I bet that it’s in the back of his mind just a little bit.

There wouldn’t be a better way to go out if Manning won the MVP and the Super Bowl in his final year. He already has the MVP dialled in after being named the all-pro team QB unanimously, only the Super Bowl stands in his way of that dream.

Not many legends actually get a chance to go out on top and it’s a chance that may be too attractive to turn down.

If Manning can’t prevail over the tough Seahawks in the swamps of New Jersey on Sunday, then I think it’s close to 100% that he’ll come back. There’s nothing like unfinished business to keep a motivated guy like Manning going.

But it’s not very fun to speculate on what Manning would do if he comes back next year, that much is obvious – throw for 50 more TDs and probably 5,000 more yards while winning the AFC West again. That would easily put him past Brett Favre for most passing TDs (he needs 17 to tie) and would leave him roughly 2,000 yards short of the record.

And it’s not like he couldn’t hold up to play another season. The only injuries he has suffered since his return were a couple of sprained ankles that didn’t even cause him to miss any time.

But speculating about Peyton playing on isn’t fun; what would he do if he retires?

There are three real options: Go into coaching, go into TV or take a year or two off.

I, personally think that the last option is the least likely. Manning is too dedicated to the game of football to stay away from it.

Even when he’s on the field, Manning is an excellent coach. He seems destined to be able to pick up a clipboard and start doling out advice right away and would be an outstanding offensive co-ordinator, or at least a QB coach. I would only question where he would choose to coach, as a good situation may not be immediately available.

That might keep him off the sidelines for a year or two, which leads to his most obvious stop on his post-playing career path: Television.

When at Tennessee, Manning studied communications and is known to be a great speaker and, of course, football mind.

Every network would be falling all over themselves to try to land Manning, leading to a huge bidding war. I’d say either FOX or NBC would be the favourites to land him, but that’s just my uninformed speculation.

But really, the only thing that we know for certain is that five years after he does hang it up, Manning will be enshrined at Canton – there’s no debating that.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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