Peyton Manning is 37-years old; he’s had multiple neck surgeries, and with an upcoming doctor’s appointment after the season, there’s a possibility that Super Bowl XLVIII could be the last game of his career. If that ends up being the case, Manning will be hoping to finish out his career in the same fashion as former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway.
Elway is the man that brought Manning to Denver and in a way, Elway is the person most responsible for Denver’s trip to the Super Bowl. He took a chance on Manning after all of his neck surgeries with no guarantee that he would be the same player he was before his year on the sidelines. Elway is also the player that delivered the Broncos their two Super Bowl championships, doing so in the final two years of his career.
A little more than 15 years ago, Elway was in a similar position that Manning is in now. Elway was towards the end of a brilliant career, but missing a Super Bowl victory. At the moment, Manning has one Super Bowl win under his belt, but critics still act as though he doesn’t have any as they insist that he needs a second to be in the conversation for the best quarterback of all time.
Elway needed a Super Bowl win at the end of his career to solidify his legacy, and now Manning needs the same.
Manning now has the opportunity follow in Elway’s footsteps. Whether he’s forced to by his health or does so willingly, Manning could replicate Elway’s feat of winning a Super Bowl and then retiring, ending his career on the highest note possible. Wouldn’t that be the perfect ending to Manning’s career and his time with the Broncos?
Of course, Manning could also come back next season and win back-to-back Super Bowls before retiring — then he would really be replicating Elway. That said, he’ll have to take it one step at a time; most Broncos fans would be more than satisfied with Manning leading Denver to victory in this Super Bowl and think about next season later.