Peyton Manning retires

James Jefferson , Reporter

As of March 7, 2016, one of the all time greatest quarterbacks in NFL history officially called it a career after 18 spectacular years. five time NFL MVP and the owner of several quarterback records including most career wins, most touchdown passes in a season and most career touchdown passes (539) Peyton Manning said goodbye to football. During his career, most NFL analysts have repeatedly said that he changed the way the quarterback position is played in the NFL. As a fan, I agree.

His career began when he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. He struggled a lot in his rookie year. He set a record for rookie quarterbacks that still stands in 2016. In 1998, Peyton threw 28 interceptions and the Colts finished that season with a 3-13 record. Many wondered if the Colts made the right decision by drafting him. After that season, the sky was the limit.

As the years went on, Peyton got better and better. He made his first playoff appearance as the Colts starting quarterback in 2003. He threw 29 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions that season. Manning was also named NFL MVP for the first time in his career.

The Colts made the AFC Championship game that year before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots. It was clear that Peyton would be the face of the franchise for many years to come.

In 2004, Peyton had one of the best statistical seasons that a quarterback has ever had. He threw 49 touchdowns, which was an NFL record. The Colts made it back to the playoffs and were poised for a postseason run. Peyton was also named NFL MVP for the second time time.

They made it back to the AFC Championship game and lost yet again to the New England Patriots.After that game, people in the media were really wondering if he would ever make it to a super bowl. 2 years later, it turns out he did.

2006 was a defining year for Peyton. He was determined to get the monkey of losing in the postseason off of his back. During the regular season, he threw for 31 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions. But once again, the media questioned whether Manning was really ready to show that he could perform in the postseason.

During the postseason, the Colts beat the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens. But there was still one more major hurdle they had to climb. Peyton faced off against Tom Brady in the AFC championship game.

The game was one for the ages. In the 2nd half, the Colts came back from a 21-3 deficit and won the game 38-34. Peyton would finally have his chance to win the Super Bowl.

Sorry to bring this up Bears fans, but I have to. Peyton played like a champion in Super Bowl 41. He completed 25 of his 38 passes for 247 yards a touchdown and an interception. But thanks to the Colts defense, Peyton would finally win his first ring. The Colts defeated the Bears 29-17. He was named Super Bowl MVP.

A few years later, Peyton would hit a road block. In 2011, he was sidelined for the entire season due to having 3 neck surgeries. He was also released by the Colts that year. No one knew if Peyton would ever play football again. He came back better than ever.

In 2012, the Denver Broncos were in need of a quarterback. So, they signed Peyton Manning. It turned out to be a great decision. The Broncos instantly became Super Bowl contenders. Peyton rejuvenated his career and silenced the doubters. Unfortunately, all the hype surrounding him wasn’t to be.

He was eliminated in the postseason by the Baltimore Ravens. On to the 2013 season in hopes for another chance at a super bowl.

2013 was the best year of Peyton Manning’s career. He threw for an NFL record 55 touchdowns during the regular season. On top of that, he was named the NFL MVP for a fifth time. Would this be the year Peyton would come out on top?

Unfortunately, no. He was destroyed by the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks won the game 43-8. It wouldn’t get that much better for him after that.

2015 was filled with nothing but controversy and injury for the star quarterback. Manning would break the NFL record for most career passing yards during a regular season game against the Kansas City Chiefs but he was awful. He threw four interceptions and was benched. No one knew why he performed poorly.

It turns out that he dealt with a torn plantar fascia muscle in his left foot. He dealt with it for the rest of the year. A lot of NFL fans, including myself were ready to move on from Peyton. Don’t ever count him out.

He returned from the injury in week 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs and would lead the Broncos to a victory. He was just getting started. He was named the starting quarterback for the playoffs. Once again, the critics appeared. Manning would prove them wrong. Again.

In the postseason, rumors spread that Manning was taking a performance enhancing drug to speed up his recovery from his neck surgery in 2011. He, the Broncos and his former team theIndianapolis Coots strongly denied the allegations. It turns out the allegations never materialized and were found to be untrue.

After that, all Peyton was focused on was trying to win another Super Bowl. In the postseason, they had the number one seed in the AFC. They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots to reach the Super Bowl.

They faced the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. The Broncos came to play. Their defense was the best in the NFL and they won the game 24-10.

In my opinion, Peyton is one of the best quarterbacks that I’ve ever seen. He made football fun to watch. Say what you will about these allegations of performance enhancing drug use, but he has earned respect from many other players, coaches and fans and I believe he will go down as one of the greatest players to ever play in the NFL.