The Denver Post says that Peyton Manning has decided to retire. The Denver Broncos insist that he has not.
“His Bronc riding days are over; the last rodeo is done,” Woody Paige wrote over the weekend. “Peyton Manning is saying goodbye; it’s been lots of fun. According to two sources, Manning will acknowledge his decision by the end of this week. These sources also say that Peyton, who will turn 40 on March 24, is leaving the Broncos and retiring from the game he has played competitively for 29 years.”
The story meshes with common sense. Peyton Manning looked like Chelsea Manning at times this season. He turns 40 later this month. His body turned 57 last month. He ended the season, and perhaps his career, a champion. He owns the NFL record for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a career and in a season. What else does he have to prove?
From the team’s perspective, paying a game-manager version of Peyton Manning $19 million simply not to make mistakes and put enough points on the board to allow the dominating defense to defeat the opposition does not make sense from an accounting or personnel standpoint. If Manning wanted to come back, would Denver even want him at that salary?
But the Broncos maintain that Manning still weighs the pros and cons of another grinding NFL season.
Peyton has not made a decision on his future. Plan remains for him to continue talks with the team this week. https://t.co/2YcjDCCQSg
— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) February 28, 2016
The compulsion of flacks to shape the story often compels them to attempt to write it themselves. But no rewrite from the press office of the Denver Broncos can improve upon the final script submitted by Peyton Manning to end this season. No postscript season necessary—we know and love a Hollywood ending when we see one.
The Broncos can continue to sell us on a sequel season for the next few days. Unlike Luke Skywalker, Peyton Manning ain’t coming back.