In Denver, 18 should have stayed retired

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As he always seems to do, Peyton Manning said all the right things on Tuesday, both when he was stiffly reading from notes and when he was more loosely responding to questions from the media.

Regarding the questionable decision to unretire No. 18 so that Manning could wear the number that he wore for 13 seasons in Indianapolis (in his 14th season, he never put on a uniform), Manning tried to say all the right things.  But nothing he said on that topic would have been truly right.

“I’m going to wear No. 18 for the Broncos,” Manning said.  “I had the privilege of speaking with Frank Tripucka this morning. It really goes against everything I believe in being a guy who appreciates the history of football and I believe when a number is retired it should stay retired; but in talking to Frank Tripucka, I feel he really wants me to wear his number.  It was a very humbling conversation and I am honored to wear his number, being another quarterback for the Denver Broncos as Mr. Tripucka was back years ago as the first quarterback to play here.  It truly is an honor for me and I’m really following his wishes to wear it because that’s what he wants me to do and I’m honored to do that.”

If it goes against everything Manning believes in, then he should have politely declined.  I’m sure if Manning had been wearing No. 7 since 1998, John Elway would “really want” Manning to wear Elway’s number, too.  That doesn’t make it right.

Indeed, it flies in the face of the entire concept of retiring numbers.  If a number is retired, it’s retired.  The person for whom the number was retired should have no say in the matter; part of the honor is that the topic of unretiring the number should never be broached.

In this case, the skids were greased last week, when reporters began contacting Tripucka and asking him about whether the number would be dusted off for Manning.  What would anyone expect Tripucka to say?  “No, it’s mine . . . and while we’re on the topic get off my lawn”?

To his credit, Tripucka acted charitably.  But he never should have been placed in that position.

In the end, the Broncos are the custodians of the team’s numbers.  And the burden was on the Broncos to make it clear from the get-go that the number was retired, and that if Peyton were going to play for the Broncos he’d need to wear a different number.

The Broncos surely realize that they’ve opened themselves and Manning up to legitimate criticism.  Why else would the team have sent out a press release with quotes from Tripucka in which he says he “would be honored” to have Peyton wear the jersey?

So while Tripucka comes out of this looking great, the Broncos and Manning don’t.  The topic never should have been broached by either the team or the player, which would have kept Tripucka from having to do the only reasonable thing a person whose jersey has been retired can do when someone comes along with his sights set on unretiring it.

And to those of you who think that Tripucka has manipulated this situation merely to get his name back into circulation after nearly 50 years of obscurity, keep two things in mind.  First, he’s 84.  Second, he has Alzheimer’s.

220 responses to “In Denver, 18 should have stayed retired

  1. There are a limited amount of numbers for positions under the NFL uniform policy. Who cares?

  2. No question it should remain retired. The fact that it’s even an option to come out of retirement is disrespectful to Tripucka. Simple as that

  3. The # is not a big deal. Especially if the guy really wants Manning to wear it. Probably brought him some more attention because I know that I have never heard of him before this #18 thing.

  4. First, you are absolutely correct that the number should have stayed retired.

    Second, I don’t care.

  5. Typical Manning. Stiff, political, and in the end, a baby who needs to get his own way. Boo!

  6. Broncos fan, but Tripucka was long before my time- really, until the past couple of days I’d only heard the name in passing. But… if the number is retired, it’s retired. Don’t cheapen that. Kind of disappointed in this aspect of things.

  7. As a Ram fan, I wouldn’t even want Adrian Peterson to wear Marshall Faulk’s #28 if he were on my team.

    If the number is retired,that guy earned it – leave it be.

    Until you run out of numbers

  8. Very crass move on the Broncos behalf. A Retired Number is just that. It just goes to show that money/ power always prevails over morals and ideals. I have been a fan of Manning’s throughout this whole saga, but this is not right. Lesson: Rules are meant to be broken? ( yes, kids for the right person).

  9. i honestly don’t see the big deal in this? if a legend calls you up and says “please, wear my number. i would be honored if you did” and if he’s offering to give it to him, then again, I don’t see the big deal?

    i think it’s kinda cool personally.

  10. Joe Montana talked about how Len Dawson would have unretired his #16 when Montana went to the Chiefs, but Montana didn’t feel that it was right, so he chose #19 (his Pop Warner number) instead. There is a reason why they retire numbers, and that is so that they are never used again, not because they’re saving them for when somebody really really good comes along.

  11. I think the #18 should have stayed retired. The Broncos retired that number for a reason, keep it retired. But, what’s done is done.

    I didn’t realize Mr. Tripucka had Alzheimers. How sad.

  12. This entire offseason feels like Favre 2.0.
    The only thing that counts to Manning is MANNING.
    18 SHOULD have stayed retired.

  13. In 200 years, the NFL will still be around, and by then what numbers will they use is they keep retiring numbers that will never be allowed to be worn again?

    Also the man i never heard of, said if PM comes to Denver he can wear his number, the man is like 90 years old, If he is still alive and able to make decisions for himself, he must have played under a better rule system in his day, cuz it seems like he never had any head injuries…..

  14. This is a JOKE! Manning was on record saying he was not comfortable with wearing the jersey until Tripucka pleaded with him to wear it! Manning handled the situation with absolute class.

    What’s more disrespectful, fulfilling the request of a franchise great or refusing?

    Not to mention the fact this is making the public more ware of Tripucka and his place in history (first QB of the Broncos, first QB to pass for 3000 yards).

    Watch this post get deleted.

  15. Peyton and the Broncos are douche bags for doing that.. I’m sure PM wouldn’t like it if Andrew Luck decides to wear #18 and refuses to play unless he got it and the Colts gave in.. Which would be hilarious

  16. When Jerry Rice wore number 80 for the Seahawks I never heard any one griping over such a thing. Peyton has earned the right to wear number 18 for any team he plays for.

    PS. I am not a Colt/Bronco/ or Manning fan but he has paid his dues.

  17. Tripucka insisted that Manning wear his number. He was asked by someone a week ago, well before Manning signed and he said that he would be honored if a player like Manning would wear the number. This is a non issue. I think it’s ridiculous that this is even being debated. If the man whose number was retired doesn’t have a problem with it, why should anybody else!

  18. “Legitimate criticism”? If all parties directly involve are in agreement, are concerns for nostalgia are anything but legitimate.

  19. Govtminion your comment is actually amusing. As a Bronco fan you “only heard the name in passing” but you say let it stay retired. So really if Manning didn’t get the number as a Bronco fan you really wouldn’t even know who this player was. Very amusing indeed.

  20. Personally, if my number were retired or even if it wasn’t and I was 84 yrs. old, I would be happy to see someone wearing my number. It will probably bring back some fond memories for the old guy.

  21. We went through this in Seattle, too, when they temporarily unretired Steve Largent’s #80 so Jerry Rice could use it.

  22. Have you ever thought that maybe (probably) the Bronco’s brass WANTED him to wear #18? Which is probably the case. If the Bronco organization AND Mr. Tripucka wanted him to wear #18, then what’s the problem?? They are the only people actually involved. Get over it.

  23. Just like his decision to play for the broncos, its all about him. If you dont know it was the $95 million.

  24. who the eff are you to say what the broncos should or should not do? if they wanna bring back an important jersey number for an all time great like manning then more power to them, its a meaningful gesture and im sure manning appreciates it.

  25. If its against everything you believe or stand for……… don’t do it; enough said.

  26. Watching some of his interviews on NFL Network, I get the feeling that he really didn’t wanna be anywhere but Indianapolis. His forced half a grin while holding his jersey up to the cameras, along with saying, “I wish I didn’t get hurt…”. No matter where he landed he wanted to finish out in Indianapolis. And if he hadn’t been hurt, he’d still be there and the colts are looking for a replacement a couple years from now rather than in a couple weeks….

  27. When BARRY SANDERS was drafted, the Lions un-retired Billy Sims number 20. Where was the outrage? I am sick and tired of the industry of outrage our culture has become. Everyone is begging for a reason to be offended. Get a life. Find something serious to whine about you bitc*es.

  28. Frank Tripucka wasn’t even really good. He only played 4 seasons and he wouldn’t have played at all if the QB at the time was any good. Frank Tripucka was hired as a assistant coach, at least according to Wikipedia. Manning is one of the best players to ever play the game. Frank Tripucka happened to be the first QB of the Broncos franchise. I wouldn’t be upset if they unretired the #18 so they can retire the number for a great player in Peyton Manning.

  29. Tripucka? Really? Tripucka? Is that a HOF guy? Tripucka?
    Gimme a break…

    You can’t cheapen his number by retiring it any longer. What’s in a number?
    “Hey, number eighteen! I remember you. You were great, Number Eighteen!
    Dude can keep his number but then he wouldn’t get all this attention.
    You need numbers for the Mannings. There are three.
    But Tripucka?

  30. seahawksbmx says:
    Mar 20, 2012 10:57 PM
    We went through this in Seattle, too, when they temporarily unretired Steve Largent’s #80 so Jerry Rice could use it.

    Sadly the front office in Seattle had to beg Largent to honor Jerry’s request…

    Rice was such a crybaby over wanting to wear #80

  31. Let it go. You don’t like Manning, you’ve said as much before. Is it really worth writing two stories on the same subject hours apart just to take another dig at him?

  32. Montana changed his number when he went to KC. Not a bitter niner fan just pointing it out.

    It’s up to the team though…if the donks don’t care I don’t either, but too bad manning doesn’t wear 7.

  33. Who cares about the number? I mean I hate the Broncos and undestand the retired number thing but homestly its just a number and a caliber player Manning hands down should wear it. yeah they just paid him over 90 mill but by the way U can’t wear the #18, GTFOH…stupid article!

  34. Never heard the media or fans make an issue of Jerry Rice wearing Steve Largent’s retired number 80 back in 2002.

    So either show some consistency or shut the hell up.

  35. totally random thought! but maybe since randy moss always wants to compare himself to jerry rice, maybe moss can call up Jerry Rice and put him on the spot and say hey bro, even though ive never worn the #80 before…do mind if i be a jackass like peyton manning and put you on the spot. can i wear your number 80 so maybe i can play like you…lol

  36. Ironic that #18 means so much more to the author and the mouse clickers than the guy who owns it…

  37. If you’ve kept up on this story you’ll have heard Tripucka saying since the start of Peyton Watch 2012 that he would be honored if Peyton wore his number:

    “It’s perfectly OK for him to go ahead and use it,” Frank Tripucka said today from his New Jersey home. ” I would be honored to have him wear it.”


    “It’s been retired for 50 years,” Tripucka said. “That’s long enough.”
    (see for the full article)

    If Tripucka has made it clear as day in the public eye that not only is he ok with this, but he would actually be honored, and Peyton eludes to Tripucka actually wanting Peyton to wear the number, who are we to judge? I am a man of tradition so I get that side of the story but instead of labeling this as disrespectful shouldn’t we realize how big a sign of respect it really is that Tripucka actually wants Manning to wear a number that was retired in his honor? Just sayin…

  38. When Montana went to Chiefs he switched to 19 because Chiefs had retired 16 for Lenny Dawson

  39. Elway is doing all the right things by fellating Manning- $96MM contract, 18 jersey, pursuing his ace whole teamates like Saturday etc.

    What will Mr Ed do when Manning craps his pants in Mile High this year?

  40. Your Oakland Raiders, the Worlds Team, doesnt retire #s. too many great players! Wed have to start issuing #s starting in the 100’s. Who cares about the Donkey Puches or Tripuke. Let him wear whatever # he wants.


  41. I agree. What’s the point of retiring a jersey if it can be worn again just making a phone call? might as well not even bother retiring a number in the first place.

  42. Frank Tripucka longtime QB in Canada with both the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Ottawa Rough Riders. Tripucka also once played for the Dallas Texans. Not the Dallas Texans who moved to become the Kansas City Chiefs, but in 1952 the original Dallas Texans of the NFL. Tripucka was the first passer in professional football history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season.

  43. This tells you manning is not that mr.nice guy everyone makes him out to be , he would have never reconstructed his contract in Indy ,and teams he didn’t choose didn’t give him as much as money as the broncos now he takes the number of a guy that had it retired .next thing bring all colts players he wants ,rename the stadium to manning mile high ,and have Tim tebow traded .

  44. Manning could soothe a lot of hurt feelings if he donated his services for an Alzheimer’s research charity for the duration of his stay in Denver. Do a couple of fundraisers and a couple of PSAs each year.

    And then when he retires — make a point of thanking Mr Tripucka for the loan of his jersey and make sure his medical expenses are paid for.

  45. I’m no lawyer, but suffering from Alzheimer’s would limit your ability to provide consent. OK, so this isn’t a legal matter, but still, the premise behind it is that Mr. Tripucka gave his “consent” to Manning, to wear his #18. Was he having a good day or a bad day when he did that?

  46. I think that Manning should have kept it retired but then again Jerry Rice did the same thing with Steve Largent a few years back in Seattle.

  47. @casinodino

    the man has Alzheimer’s, does he even remember why his # was retired or who PM is? It should have stayed retired.

  48. I was a bit put off at first too. Until, I heard that Manning never asked for the number. He didnt contact Tripucka, he didnt request or demand the number. Tripucka called Manning himself and asked Peyton to wear it. He said he would be honored for Peyton to wear #18! What is Manning supposed to say to that? It would be an insult to turn the man down. Plus, Tripucka was interviewed and he was not only honored, but truely excited to be in the news. Not that he is media hungry, just happy to get some recognition. He was thrilled that people were talking about the first ever qb in Broncos history! Retired numbers should stay retired, I agree with you there. But, what should Manning have done? Turn down the old mans request? That would’ve been an insult and we would have seen articles bemoaning Manning for being a jerk. No win situation here. All in all, who cares? It’s the most insignificant matter in this whole deal. Isnt there enough real news to talk about?

  49. When Trucka wore the Broncos #18, he wore vertically striped socks and a brown and yellow uniform.

  50. a lot of people are missing the point… An eldery guy with Alzheimer’s got asked if he would give up his jersey….. So he’s trapped: eitherhe says no and the whole NFL nation brands him as a selfish old guy… Or he says yes and the trouble goes away…..

    And you guys really think it’s no big deal because he said yes ? he got taken advantage of…..

  51. Jetslag I don’t care if the Broncos and Manning are doing a bad thing. I care that MF is getting on a soap box about something so trivial. Save it for the big stuff.

    Personally, I think Manning should wear #7.

  52. Ryan Leaf thinks Peyton is a whiney cry baby who would have thrown a massive cry cry tantrum if he didn’t get his way.

  53. The Lions un-retired #85 for Kevin freaking Johnson!

    There’s a number of times this or similar situations has happened with #’s supposedly retired or “taken out of circulation”…

    This is the least offensive of those cases, yet it’s the only one being talked about in the media. Where were all the complaints when Jerry Rice came and took Largent’s # for half a season? I searched the newspaper archives and I see no complaints about Frank Cope wearing Ray Flaherty’s #1 with the Giants…

    If a # is retired it should forever stay retired. So I get making a “thing” out of a # being un-retired, but if why start now, and why single Manning out when Tripucka told him to wear the number.

    Scenario 1: Media never contacts Tripucka, Manning signs with Broncos, they say #18 is retired, he picks #16 (or 19 or any other number besides 7 and 18…)

    Scenario 2: Media bugs Tripucka about his retired # and asks if he’ll give it up, a week before Manning even decides he’s going to Denver, naturally he says he’d be honored (like Largent said he’d be honored with Rice wearing #80, when you could clearly tell it annoyed him and it was after he said they should “give Rice #1 since he’s the best WR ever.”) The #, caused by idiot media, because a situation, Tripucka is forced by the situation created by the media to be the good guy and say he’ll give up his #, which puts Manning in an awkward situation when he chooses Denver, and he almost HAS TO take #18, after being put in a media created (what else is new?) no win situation…

  54. Tripucka insisted that Manning wear his number. He was asked by someone a week ago, well before Manning signed and he said that he would be honored if a player like Manning would wear the number. This is a non issue. I think it’s ridiculous that this is even being debated. If the man whose number was retired doesn’t have a problem with it, why should anybody else!


    Great post!

    The ignorance on this site is incredible sometimes

  55. This is a retarded post who cares doesn’t matter one bit and his number was retired because he was the first QB of the broncos so it’s not that big of a deal and the way it sounded was Peyton didn’t approach him about it was brought to Peyton

  56. I can’t believe all the haters of Peyton actually giving him grief on wearing the number which he decided not to wear but only when Frank called him and told him to wear it and use it. Peyton was all ready to wear another one like 16 or 14 but as a football historian he is honoring Frank when he wears it and it will not come down of the wall honoring Frank. Everybody hates the good guy who respects the game more than any player in the NFL today. Can’t you guys leave him alone!!!

  57. The concept that a retired number must stay retired is correct. Anyway makes no sense to me to retire a number of a player who played only 4 season with a 13-25 losing record and 51 TD and 85 INT. What about Steve Atwater, Dennis Smith, Karl Mecklenburg, Tom Jackson, Rod Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Tom Nalen. Those guys deserved a retired number, with all my respect to mr. Tripucka.

  58. I skipped through all the manning hater comments. Did anyone ever mention Jerry Rice did the same thing when he played for Seattle?

  59. Manning is respecting the wishes of an elder quarterback. Why is this an issue with anyone besides Tripucka and Manning?

  60. If there’s one person who should reserve the right to bring a number out of retirement, it’s the person that actually wore the damn thing. I’ve got no problem with Peyton wearing #18 because not only did Tripucka give Peyton his blessing, but Peyton is one of the best to ever play the game and totally outclasses Peyton anyway. Trupicka is the best 18 to play for the Broncos I suppose? Peyton is the best 18 to ever play in the NFL. Argument about disrespect is null and void.

  61. Yes, It should have stayed retired… I’m a Seahawks fan and I didn’t like it when Jerry Rice took Steve Largent’s #80 out of retirement, It shows NO CLASS and NO RESPECT for the man that worked hard to get his number retired with the team he played for…. I don’t care if he is Peyton Manning, He should have refused to wear that number!

  62. Spot on commentary. Many players take a different number when changing teams so it’s not like it’s that big a deal. Certainly not as much to the person who the number is retired for. Manning should have never put him in that position.

  63. It’s customary that when a star player changes teams and wants a number already assigned to someone else, he pays that player for the number. Rather than aw-shucksing Tripucka to death, Manning should have written him a big sincere check for the use of #18.

    Although the equipment manager has unofficially held back a couple since the 70s, the Steelers don’t retire numbers. Teams have a finite choice of numbers for each position. Once you start retiring them, at some point, you will run out. It’s a silly tradition; glad my team doesn’t do it.

  64. So Manning and the Broncos management team took advantage of disabled person. Wow! Very low!!! The number should have stayed retired.

    I actually wonder if Mr Tripucka had any recollection that he played for the Broncos. How sad. And all because of a number.

  65. @stevenfbracket…..How do we know that Manning didn’t provide Mr. Tripucka with something in exchange for the favor of allowing him to wear #18? If Manning did make a donation, or did something financially for the Tripucka family, isn’t it a better show of character by Manning that he chose not to broadcast it to the world at a press conference?

  66. A hush fell over the crowd as they watched Manning carted off the field with his head twisted around at an unnatural angle, his arms flopping limply at his side.

    Thus was born the infamous “Curse Of Trupicka” legend. Some said he was given the name Frank in honor of a doctor from the family’s ancestral home in Transyvania.

  67. What would you expect from a such a classless organization? It’s really not shocking that they would try to cover their behinds by sending out a press release about how ‘honored’ Frank is.

    I bet they never even asked him for permission. They either forced it upon him and said deal with it, or else they sent a little cash his way.

    Karma is a beyotch…this sorry joke of a franchise and that pansy, money grubbing Peyton will find that out very soon.

  68. Retiring numbers in footall is stupid. There will always be someone someday more deserving.

  69. It’s a number. If the team is okay with it. And the former player is okay with it. Who are any of us to say “shame on you Peyton”?

  70. raiderrob21
    Mar 20, 2012, 11:09 PM EDT

    It’s because your fans would tear down the banner and smoke it.

  71. Like father like sons right PEYTON. manning family are sneaky good at getting what they want like a political hack. he new he would finagle the broncos and throw frank to the wolves. I say go chargers,go chiefs , go raiders. lets make denver miss tebow time.

  72. If Peyton wins a Super Bowl for the Broncos, you’ll never hear another word about this.

  73. Maybe we should start retiring players names as well…..that way the next chad ochocinco will be screwed

  74. Tripucka is a punk. He should’ve stood up for his legacy, instead people will remember Manning as the only Bronoc to wear the number 18

  75. truthfactory says:
    Mar 20, 2012 11:06 PM
    This happens all the time. Didnt Montana un-retire someones jersey? Why was his jersey retired in the first place? Wasnt he like 32-54?


    Wasn’t he a 3 time Super Bowl winner and MVP of two of them?

    Did football begin in 2001 – Jesus?! Yeah, idiotic fans happen all the time…

  76. I guess Manning’s ego is larger than his forehead. Peyton should be ashamed – really. Gotta talk to an old lady to manipulate this one? Seriously?

  77. I think there might be too big of a deal being made here. It does sound like Tripucka really wanted Manning to wear #18, maybe “insisted” is too strong but more like when one of your grandparents offers you something you want but don’t really need & it gets to the point where you feel like you’d be being disrespectful not to accept it. Yeah he has Alzheimer’s but it sounds like his good days are good enough to be able to give quotes for interviews.

    I just look at it as well like, he wore #16 at Tennessee & couldn’t wear that with The Colts because of Unitas so I don’t think he had any big issue with having to change from #18 to #16.

  78. Didnt Tripuka play for the expansion Charlotte Hornets? Great mullet? Looked like Jerry Seinfeld?

  79. i don’t think this was so much peytons fail here.. the fact that the Denver Bronco organization had to break the honor code of unretiring a number to lure peyton to sign with them is quite proposterous and crosses so many ethical lines… boo to the Denver Broncos for stooping that low and slapping Tim Tebow in the face, the stomach, and know the junk… im not saying that Tebow is the answer by far… but the man did so much for the organization, it’s fan base, and the NFL in general that he didn’t deserve this type of treatment… i hope Tebow gets to play Peyton this year somehow and beats the pants off of the Broncos… (i am in no way saying that picking up Peyton was the wrong move, but their are MUCH better ways of going about your business)

  80. Someone needs to ask how much Mr Frank Tripucka was paid for this. I’ll bet it was five or ten times more than he ever made playing football.

  81. The Cowboys, Steelers , and Raiders are right about numbers… don’t retire them. But don’t just give prestige numbers to just anybody.

  82. The whole thing is a sham. First Elway has the audacity to say that he’d want Tebow to marry his daughter and now he puts pressure on the first Bronco quarterback (Tripucka) to give up a retired number you have no shame. In my I’ve always said you were probably the greatest quarterback ever but has a human being you have a long way to go

  83. WOW Peyton Manning and Elway are real classy asking a guy on his death bed who doesn’t know what planet hes on, let alone who Manning is, goes to show what kind of organization is being run here.

  84. Is this piece for real? 2 men who get their asses kicked for a living agree on something and chumps typing away question their integrity? Sit in a room with Warren Sapp or Doug Flutie and ask this question. Drama is for chumps. Man up get hit or hit someone then ask questions. Until you do that go back to your Madden games chumps.

  85. No way in hell Peyton should get to wear 18 – leased, bribed, bought, or whatever. My feelings for Peyton have slipped after his charade tour and using a retired number.

    Peyton may be all that and a bag of cow chips but he is not better than any other human.

    Keep the number retired and give Peyton the number 13 to match his bad karma.

  86. Montana didn’t wear #16 in Kansas City. That was Len Dawson’s retired number. Dawson threw a hissy fit when he was asked about Montana wearing #16 in KC, so Montana wore #19 as a Chief.

  87. And when Manning retires a Bronco who’s name will be on the 18 jersey? His of course. No shame.

  88. I agree with the author of this article. Retired means retired. From here on out retiring a jersey, especially in Denver, will be done tongue in cheek. I’m glad the old fellow got some attention and that he was nice about it, but he should never have been asked the question.

  89. Once again, the liberal media is always so quick to blame the job-creating organization and the capitalist multi-millionaire, rather than putting the blame where it belongs: on the 84-year-old Alzheimer’s patient whose number was retired around 50 years ago.

    Clearly Tripucka wanted Manning to have his number. Or somebody called the first Denver QB ever and persuaded him to make certain statements so that the team could help attract Peyton Manning. I’m sure that if they did, they were thoughtful enough to ensure that he did so during a lucid mental state.

    So kudos to everyone posting who speculated how Tripucka is doubtlessly getting free publicity and probably made out like a bandit financially – this was clearly his plan all along. To everyone else: why do you hate America?

    That is all.

  90. Tripucka played in Denver what, 3 yrs? But I understand, I would be outraged if #7 were ever worn again. But then again, it was a no win situation for Manning. Had he said no, he would have been an a$$ for not honoring Tripucka’s request.

  91. They shouldn’t have asked, but he should have offered the number. We’re talking about possibly the best qb of all time
    In Peyton, him coming out and offering his # would be both classy and uncontrovershial, as a retired number should be.

  92. Suppose the world doesn’t end anytime soon, and the NFL keeps going for another 200 years at least. There are going to be A LOT of great players in that time.

    Pretty soon there won’t be enough numbers. So “retiring” numbers should basically just be temporary anyway.

    The Broncos have been around 52 years and retired 3 numbers, average of 1 every 17.333 years. Sure, it will be a long time before they don’t have enough for a 53 man roster, but it gets kind of stupid long before that.

    Once no one remembers who the guy was, unretire the number.

  93. I bet you think Jordan should have left 23 hanging in the rafters and been 45 for the rest of career as well. Retiring a number is all about honoring the name on the back of the jersey for what that person did for the team name on the front. It has much less to do with the actual number. If a team exists long enough and retires all numbers of great players they will start to run out of them. It makes sense to recycle the numbers at some point.

  94. Wearing #18 says a couple of things about PM;
    1) It’s all about him and to heck with Bronco tradition.
    2) It is a tribute to his Colt past – NOT Bronco future.
    3) It goes against his own admitted beliefs.
    4) It invalidates an honor given to a well loved Bronco.
    5) More adversity to accepting of PM by TT fans.
    6) Indy will retire #18, why void an honor that he will someday have with COLTS uniform! Does he need 2?
    7) Tacky, tasteless and stupid.
    8) Said his heart will always be a Colt must – he prove it each week by having #18 tattooed on his chest?
    9) What’s wrong with his college #16? Still available.
    10) did I mention #1?

    Stupid PR move by Peyton/Broncos and not too late to reverse the decision (stating “upon further thought”). Think about Mr. “I am my world”.

  95. I am big football fan and i’ve never heard of Frank Tripucka. I bet most haven’t.

    If i was his family members, i would want Peyton to wear the number so a new generation of fans get to know him.

  96. Wow! A whole lot of nothing to get worked up about. Cant we go back to more Saints bounty stories? Or how about revisiting the Hall of Fame voter disgrace?

  97. The only person with any right to be offended by Peyton taking #18 is the person the number was retired for. Tripucka says he’s fine with it and it isn’t an issue. Why are 3rd parties trying to blow this up into something it isn’t?

  98. The whole concept of retiring numbers is stupid. There are only 99 of the things, eventually all 99 will have been worn by a great player for the francise. What happens then, the team applies to the league for the right to assign numbers over 100?

  99. Go look at Tripucka’s stats and it will make you want to puka. This isn’t even close to Elway we’re talking about. Don’t get sidetracked on the rhetoric of nonsense during this historic occurance.

  100. He should make a statement that he was honored to be given the opportunity to wear #18 but after thinking about it he has decided to wear a different number. What happens (I know BIG if) if he leads Denver to a couple Super Bowls and wins and when he retires they want to retire his number…OOOPS, #18 is already retired. Regardless what Manning might say I’m sure down the road if #18 gets retired by the Colts he wouldn’t be so quick to give it up to someone else.

  101. streedc says: Mar 20, 2012 11:00 PM

    When BARRY SANDERS was drafted, the Lions un-retired Billy Sims number 20. Where was the outrage? I am sick and tired of the industry of outrage our culture has become. Everyone is begging for a reason to be offended. Get a life. Find something serious to whine about you bitc*es.


    Couldn’t agree more. Why does it matter when he gave Peyton his blessing? I know the man is old, but Peyton seems like he wants to wear it out of respect.

  102. So Frank Tripuka called Peyton Manning?

    84 year old guy with Alzheimer’s phones up Peyton? Just happened to have his digits?

    Ever seen a person with Alzheimer’s try and use a phone? They can’t manage a remote, even a garage door opener is a struggle.. Yet we are to believe he had peyton in the iPhone and called him up..

    Elway is Satan! Long live Tebow!

    Manning is really pushing the karma level..

  103. I really dont think this is an issue…

    to some extent its a way to honor Tripuka as probaly 98% of the current fanbase does not realize who he was

    ( and to the guy above who said he was a stiff because he looked at his stats…its really stupid to look at QB stats from the 60’s and hold them up to what stats are in the 21st century )

    dont put this on Manning…within 2 days after it became public the Broncos were talking to him there was an article in the Denver Post that said qouted Tripuka as saying he would be thrilled…

    not sure if he offered or the Broncos asked but it was definitly not Manning who brought it up…

    I’s like to see this happen a little more actually…somehow honor the player/number by assigning it to someone deserving of it…I would think Peyton Manning qualifies and points the focus both ways…# 18 will still be up on our Ring of FAME

    Tripuka played 50 years ago…by 2162 some teams might be needing to issue triple digit jerseys

    at any rate Tripuka has had more focus on him then he has had in the last 30 years

  104. i am sure ol man likes cash more than his number… may be a book deal…
    not as bad as you make it sound…

  105. Ha maybe someone should have had this very same talk with a certain qb who couldnt decide to hang it up….. Who cares its a jersey not like he stole his image or name…..

  106. Really a non-issue. While Tripucka’s contributions to the game are notable, he’s not even in the Hall of Fame. Manning is a first-ballot HOF’er with his name plastered all over the NFL record book. If the Broncos and Tripucka have no issue with unretiring the number for a few years then why should anyone else. I’m 90 percent certain Manning goes into the HOF as a Colt.

  107. I, uh, literally never heard of Tripucka, so, yeah.

    I thought there was an 80s hoopster with that name though.

  108. Once an egomanic, always an egomaniac. I would be very carefull Denver fan, one good hit and this guy is produce and your out 100 million.

  109. Denver should either retire numbers and *really* keep them retired -or- not retire numbers at all.

    They made their own problem… Other teams don’t retire numbers and don’t have this problem, so I don’t feel sorry for them. They set themselves up for this situation.

  110. I agree that the number should have stayed retired. I have a ton of respect for Manning. But it makes me want to puke to think #12 would be un-retired by the Patriots in 40 years for some free agent acquisition because a bunch of 20-something-year-olds weren’t around when he played for the team, and don’t appreciate what he accomplished. That is absurd. The number should stay retired!

  111. Wow, putting an 84 year old Tripucka in that position was not very honorable. Number 18 should stay retired. Manning just put his ego on display with this bold move. Well, we’ve now learned that in Denver there’s really no such thing as a “retired number.”

    Shame on Peyton Manning and the Denver Bronco’s.

  112. the meaning behind a retired jersey is that the player who wore it was really special. to bring it out of retirement just means manning is special too. if he wins 2 superbowls for broncos they can double retire it – which will serve to give moms and dads something interesting to explain to their kids when they take them to bronco games. it’s no big deal.

  113. truthfully i think this is a non-issue, but just the fact that “Mr. Me” PM got his way on this..Please..Please..will the vengeful gods have andrew luck pick #18 to wear for the colts while they still havent retired it yet..that would only be fitting…

  114. This column would have made for some intense, thought-provoking journalism if I only knew who the hell Frank Tripucka is.

  115. Just because some fans haven’t heard of a player makes it no reason to unretire a number. It’s not about the ignorant fans that numbers are retired.

    Peyton is a good fit for the Broncos with his mile high ego.

    Shame on Peyton Manning and The Denver Broncos.

  116. Maybe Tripucka is the only person involved who realizes how stupidly meaningless something like a jersey number is at the end of the day.

    That said, Manning should only have done this if he’s 100% okay with it being done to him someday.

  117. Laserw, i wish i had the bad karma of a 4-time MVP, Super Bowl champion, SB MVP, gazillionaire. Manning has had a rough life.

  118. The comments from posters saying that Mr. Tripuka gave his permission are missing the point. He shouldn’t have been asked in the first place. Neither should have the other retired players in the other examples given. Do you think he called Peyton of his own volition? Let me give you the answer now: No. He was badgered by the media and when Peyton signed he was probably approached again. No win situation.

    This was an honor bestowed upon them by the teams they played for. Now they’re being approached and asked to give up the honor. And if they don’t then they’re painted as cranky old men. It’s unfair.

    And for those of you saying “Who cares?”, if it’s not a big deal, then why did the media hound this old man to begin with, and why didn’t Manning just politely and respectfully say no? Why didn’t the Broncos just say from the very start that Peyton will be choosing another number?

  119. The question really isn’t should the Broncos allowed him to wear it. But rather if Peyton means what he says than he should never even broached the subject. If he truly respects the history of the game, he would’ve seen it as disrespectful to wear #18

  120. Get over it. If the man wants Peyton to wear his number than so be it. Who cares, nobody outside of Denver and true NFL buffs have even heard of his guy. Sure the retiring of a jersey means something special but if and when Peyton wins a SB they can retire Manning’s 18 too.

  121. PFT trying to make a controversial story out of nothing. It halfway worked, half of the people on here are griping about it and the other half could care less. I could care less.

  122. @ragingsea says:Mar 21, 2012 8:22 AM

    Just because some fans haven’t heard of a player makes it no reason to unretire a number. It’s not about the ignorant fans that numbers are retired.

    Peyton is a good fit for the Broncos with his mile high ego.

    Shame on Peyton Manning and The Denver Broncos.
    Put a cork in it wussbag. God you people are nothing but pathetic.

  123. “First, he’s 84. Second, he has Alzheimer’s”

    And third… he is Frank Tripucka while the new guy is Peyton Manning.

  124. What kind of crap is Manning selling? I had nothing but respect for Manning for several years and through this whole injured season/off season, and he’s completely blown it with this classless, selfish act of asking Tripucka to allow his jersey to be un-retired. I have gone from wishing Manning a great playoff-filled season to hoping he has the single worst season of his career. What a self-centered classless JERK he has now revealed himself to be.

    Hey Manning, lots of teams wanted you and if wearing no. 18 was so incredibly important you could have gone to any one of them and skipped Denver altogether. Going there you should have understood from the get-go that 18 was unavailable and been prepared to change numbers. What an ass.

  125. And just because you’ve never heard of the player is no reason to unretire the number. 50 years from now there will be people who have never heard of Elway. Wonder how he will feel when he’s called by the Broncos to give his number to some new hotshot free agent.

    And lastly, whether you think retiring numbers is stupid or not is inconsequential. The fact is the Broncos do retire numbers and they retired that one. It should never have come up, ever and shame on the Broncos for letting it.

  126. He should’ve done the classy thing that Matt Flynn did, reverting back to his college #15 rather than stealing Jim Zorn’s #10.

  127. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot, Manning wanted to wear #7 and Elway said it was “OK”.

    Man…Denver Fans would be upset. The number should of stayed retired. Manning said, “it goes against everything he believed”, I guess he doesn’t believe much, and the man has Alzheimer’s.

    Here’s the solultion: Don’t buy a #18 Jersey from Denver.

    PS. Indy shouldn’t retired the #18 jersey.

  128. Completely agree. Classless move to take that dude’s number. And I agree–he should have at least insisted on paying the guy handsomely to unretire his jersey. Set up his kids/grandkids for making this selfish decision…

  129. what a joke this self absorbed gas bag should have left the number alone he coulda wore 16 like college but kno the king had to have it. slimy mafutta. my neck my back beat the ponies just like that. mayb skip baseless can get tebow a job o. first take

  130. All one needs to know so that this all makes sense is simply this:

    The Mannings are to the NFL what Yoko Ono was to the Beatles

    Their bitch?

  131. I disagree with this whole heartedly, that’s like if Kobe went to the Bulls and decided he wanted to wear, I shouldn’t say this but 23, no way on this earth would MJ let that happen nor the Bulls franchise. I dont care who you are once a number is retired its retired. (Kinda saw this coming though)

  132. Wanna hear something that makes it MORE disgusting? Ralph Cindrich tweeted this AM that Tripucka has Alzheimers. How dare they ask this poor guy if he wants to give up his #? Vile.

  133. I don’t really understand this faux (or perhaps uninformed) outrage.

    Eric Decker wears 87, it’s been ‘retired’ twice.

    Willis McGahee (23) and Knowhown Moreno (27) have ‘retired’ numbers.

    Tim Tebow (15) of all people wears a ‘retired’ Broncos number!

    Even John Elway’s 7 is in there twice, though it was ‘retired’ after he started wearing it.

    Shannon Sharpe, Steve Atwater, Gary Zimmerman have all had their numbers reused.

    The point is that the Broncos have chosen to honor these players and their numbers, but not necessarily retire them from future use. Don’t act like this is some vile act, there’s 20+ people in the ring of honor.

  134. Do I feel the number should have stayed retired, yes, am im gonna make a big deal out of something I have no control of, no. When manning retires, the number will still be honored by Tripucka in denver, manning 18 will be honored by the colts. If it bothers you fans that much to where you can’t eat, can’t sleep or go on about your day, then protest it, take it to a higher court, put up a billboard or sign a petition. Complaining about it here is not gonna affect anything

  135. When Manning retires next year with a life threatening injury.Will the 90 million dollar man go to Canton as a Colt or Bronco!!

  136. @azpackfan this isnt the baseball HoF, you don’t go In as a member of a team. ask a guy like Deion sanders.

  137. First of all, I remember Frank Tripucka, and he most certainly was not a “puka” qb; just go read his bio.

    Secondly, I suspect the bunch of folks who boo this article have never received an honor or any type. I have, not in this category, but I would be dismayed at best if it was to be altered to appease or satisfy anyone else.

    Thirdly, to tees4u2, Elway is not in that discussion even for modern qb’s.

  138. Just the beginning of the Peyton Manning arrogance in Denver, wait till he starts getting sacked a few times and begins blaming his offensive linemen, like he did publicly in Indianapolis, or refuses to shake hands after a big loss, like he did after losing the Super Bowl to the Saints. As many others stated earlier, this number was retired, which should have meant never to be used again, but of course mr Peyton is so much above everyone else , which makes it ok….wrong!

  139. “(Humans are) the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.”
    Joyce Carol Oates

    seriously.. the outrage over reusing a retired number seems completely driven by the desire for outrage.

  140. spiresault says:
    Mar 21, 2012 10:45 AM
    I don’t really understand this faux (or perhaps uninformed) outrage.

    Eric Decker wears 87, it’s been ‘retired’ twice.

    Willis McGahee (23) and Knowhown Moreno (27) have ‘retired’ numbers.

    Tim Tebow (15) of all people wears a ‘retired’ Broncos number!

    Even John Elway’s 7 is in there twice, though it was ‘retired’ after he started wearing it.

    Shannon Sharpe, Steve Atwater, Gary Zimmerman have all had their numbers reused.

    The point is that the Broncos have chosen to honor these players and their numbers, but not necessarily retire them from future use. Don’t act like this is some vile act, there’s 20+ people in the ring of honor.


    Only Elway, Tripucka and Floyd Little have had their numbers retired. The others you list were honored, not retired. There is a difference. Facts are not just a river in Egypt.

  141. ravenator says:

    Tripucka is a punk. He should’ve stood up for his legacy, instead people will remember Manning as the only Bronoc to wear the number 18

    Did you miss the part about Tripucka being an 84-year-old suffering from Alzheimer’s? Dude, this post is low … even for you.

  142. Did any of those of you saying “Hey it’s ok, no big deal!” etc. etc. read the last paragraph of this article?

    “And to those of you who think that Tripucka has manipulated this situation merely to get his name back into circulation after nearly 50 years of obscurity, keep two things in mind. First, he’s 84. Second, he has Alzheimer’s.”

    This whole story smells of horse manure. Pick another number, Peyton. Do the RIGHT THING.

  143. If any of you who have besmirched Tripucka are either regular or “subway” alums of Notre Dame, please stop rooting for them, cancel any season tickets for any sport there and promise to not tell anyone who you are or what you wrote. You are an absolute disgrace.

  144. Period,who in the He…….ll does manning really think he is taking a retired number.he should be ashamed of himself.Denver is a joke,Elway is a joke,this whole manning thing is a joke.Its a disgrace to the nfl and the whole retiring numbers honor to have this broken down Manning(who the whole family seems to get what they want)just take a retired number whether Tripucka says its ok or not.I hope that this all turns out to be a big fail for the bronco who once had my respect and many others to next to the saints the lowest team in the nfl…DISGRACE.HORRIBLE CRAP.

  145. Second, he has Alzheimer’s.

    In Denver, that’s called a win-win.

    Manning gets his number and the other guy says what’s a number.

    Jello Mind and Jello Arm – same number, why not?

  146. If players can come out of retirement, why can’t numbers? If you want to blame someone, blame the media for asking Tripucka that type of question. But if Tripucka talked to manning personally on the phone, then obviously he meant what he said, how we don’t know that he’s a hugh fan of Peyton and that he wouldn’t do this for no one but him. I bet if it was tebow, we’ll have a different story.

  147. I bet if it was tebow, we’ll have a different story.

    If it was Tebow, the number would have been resurrected…

  148. I have no problem with Peyton asking Tripucka for his number, but if I were him, I wouldn’t have.

    It would have made him look humble and respectful. And it would have even made people remember Tripucka whenever they remembered the Peyton was once 18.

  149. If 30 years down the road a great player who wears 18 gets traded to the Colts, will Peyton get on the phone with the guy and say “I would love to see you wearing my number!” ?

  150. ‘Manning could wear the number that he wore for 13 seasons in Indianapolis (in his 14th season, he never put on a uniform)’

    And the part about his 14th season is relevant how? To let everyone know he sat out last year? After the million articles that have been written on Manning do you really think people don’t know that already? Love the stories but some of the content is obnoxious and unneeded.

  151. If it was merely stated as ‘‘Manning could wear the number that he wore for 13 seasons in Indianapolis’ I’d be willing to bet SOMEONE SOMEWHERE would have come back with ‘Manning was in Indy for 14, not 13 years!’

    I do agree with ya on the point that ‘some of the content is obnoxious and unneeded’ but that’s just the nature of the beast.

    Hopefully with 18 out of Indy, I won’t have to see all of his stupid commercials on TV any more. Yea, I live in the area…but I’m not from around here and I’m defnitely not a Colts fan.

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