Manning’s legacy is still safe regardless of the loss. No one can take away from everything he has accomplished in the NFL. He owns almost every important passing record in existence and has already won a Super Bowl. After the loss to the Seahawks, critics will say that he is not the best quarterback of all time, but no one can argue that he is not top three on that list, and I am sure Manning is just fine with that.
To be honest, we all know that a Super Bowl victory on Sunday would have done Manning’s legacy some justice. Still, losing did not really affect it in any way. What the loss does say is that it is time for Manning to hang it up. Such a big loss puts a damper on returning for another season. He expended so much energy and effort into this record-breaking season that I doubt he wants to go back out there and do it all over again; especially when it is a very real possibility that the season could end with the same results.
In that situation, it would be reasonable for his critics to question his legacy.
Manning has a chance to walk away unscathed, with nothing left to prove. The NFL is going in a new direction, one where speed and physicality is king, and Manning may not have enough left in the tank to keep up with the players today. Sure, he can come back and break more records, but why do it if it is not going to change anything?
At the end of the day, Manning lost in embarrassing fashion, and it would take more than one more Super Bowl victory to solidify his spot atop the all-time NFL quarterback ranks.
If Manning can assure himself that he is mentally and physically ready to play for a few more years, then a comeback would make more sense. The fact that he is unsure at this point shows that his heart could change at any time. If Manning wants to be able to walk away from the game healthy and with high spirits, then now is the time to do it.
Any more years beyond this point for Manning are irrelevant to his fans and his legacy. His place in their hearts is set in stone. He needs to find peace within himself and muster up the courage to walk away before the game forces him out under less fortunate circumstances.