When Broncos owner Pat Bowlen hands to Peyton Manning his new jersey at 3:00 p.m. ET (we’ll be streaming the press conference live via a special edition of PFT Live), the number 18 will appear below Manning’s name.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post reports that Frank Tripucka, the first quarterback in franchise history, has given his blessing to the unretirement of Tripucka’s previously retired number, so that Peyton can wear it.
Tripucka shouldn’t have even been asked. No player with a retired jersey ever should face that request. That’s the whole purpose of the retired jersey. It’s retired. If a jersey isn’t going to stay retired, then don’t retire it.
It’s not as if the Broncos retire jerseys recklessly. According to the Official NFL Record & Fact Book for 2011, only three have been set aside: 18, 7 (John Elway), and 44 (Floyd Little).
Some would say, “Who cares?” To that I say, “Exactly.”
It doesn’t matter which number Manning wears. Thus, he should respect the fact that Tripucka’s jersey is retired, and Peyton should pick a different number.
Like 16, the number he wore in college.
Then, if he delivers a couple of Super Bowl wins as a Bronco, he could become the first NFL player who has two different numbers retired, with two different teams.
And no one should ever ask him to unretire either of them.