In a not-so-private moment, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning told Patriots coach Bill Belichick that 2015 may be Peyton’s last rodeo. In much more private moments, Manning reportedly has been more definitive.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Manning has told close friends that he’ll retire after Super Bowl 50.
Manning consistently has declined to tip his hand publicly, most recently in a Pro Bowl halftime interview with ESPN’s Chris Berman. If Manning is done, the decision represents a stark contrast from his mindset in November, when he was telling teammates that he intended to play in 2016.
Circumstances have changed dramatically since then, however. After exiting the lineup to rehab a partially torn plantar fascia tendon in this foot, Manning wasn’t expected to make it back to the field in 2015. And surely he wouldn’t have wanted a string of subpar performances to represent his final NFL season.
Now that Manning has made an unexpected return and an event more unexpected run to the Super Bowl, how can he top it in 2016? He can’t, especially if the Broncos win.