Peyton Manning and other NFL QBs Who Need to Retire in 2016
From recently getting his reputable name dragged through the mud by slanderous doping reports from Al Jazeera, to being called all kinds of inhumane names and being booed by Denver fans due to his struggles earlier in the season, you’d think that Denver’s 39-year-old quarterback and five-time league MVP Peyton Williams Manning was done for good in the NFL. And then, in a twisted tale of fate, Week 17 of the NFL happened.., and things suddenly changed for the better for the #18 Broncos man. With Denver’s playoff status on the line and San Diego leading the game, Manning made a second half appearance and rescued Denver from five turnovers to clinch the division and home field advantage throughout the playoffs in a stunning 27-20 home win over the Chargers.
And as you’d expect from the fickle world of NFL betting, where the only true allegiance is on winners and making money, all the season-long talks about Manning’s retirement are starting to change, at least for now, with many still claiming that he should stay for at least one more year in order for him to give us more of his old-man man magic.
Now, if you know Manning, then you know that he is a person who is obsessed with winning and breaking records, two things he has done very commendably in his career. Unfortunately, the last two years have arguably been the worst two seasons for him, indicating that it may be time for the old man to hang his playing boots.
Since the tumultuous second half of the 2014-15 regular season that culminated in that forgetful home playoff loss to Indianapolis, there haven’t been too many positives in Manning’s name. This year, he finished the regular season with a pathetic 67.9 rating, 2, 249 passing yards, 9 TDs against a whopping 17 interceptions, a career-worst stat line and a concerning production that saw him relegated to a backup role.
By the start of the 2016-2017 season, Peyton will be 40 years, and given what we’ve seen this year, his production could quite possibly be worse. Not to mention, his injury concerns continue to pile up, and after Brock Osweiler showed that he is capable of leading the team, there is simply no way the Broncos will bring Manning back with a $21 million cap figure. So rather than sticking around for more mockery, injuries and tarnishing off his stellar career, the future Hall of Famer would better retire and give himself a much-needed rest from this football life he has served so diligently—of course forgetting his last two years.
Here are your other quarterbacks who should consider following Manning into retirement…
Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis Colts
Hasselbeck, who turned 40 in September, is probably not as known as Manning, but he’s had his fare share of success in the NFL. Being more of a soft-spoken player who mostly does his talking through his Philanthropic acts (especially in Africa), not many would be able to statistically mention his oft-overlooked achievements on the field. But looking at his résumé, you can’t help but wonder why he isn’t getting the respect he deserves. To mention a few, this is a man who led his team to six postseason appearances and a Super Bowl showing. In his 17 NFL seasons, he also spearheaded a good number of victories, including leading the Colts to a 6-5 record with a 4-0 record as starter at the age of 40 this season, making him the first quarterback in NFL history to do so. In fact, it is because of his solid play that the Colts stayed alive in the playoff and divisional race until the final day this season.
When asked in September whether he would consider retiring in 2016, all he had to say was:
“I have no idea. I really haven’t thought too much about it,” said Hasselbeck. “I think during my career, I felt like the guys that started thinking post-career while they were still playing, it wasn’t really healthy for them to do their job as well as they could do it. So I think I’ve purposely not thought about it.”
Having spent several years with the Seattle Seahawks (whom he led to the Super Bowl in 2005), a couple of year with the Tennessee Titans, before finally joining the Colts; Hasselbeck’s 17 seasons have certainly been well-spent. In the Indy locker room, for example, he is still a much respected figure. But with injuries taking a toll on him in recent years, including a couple of knocks that kept him out of some important games this season, it is clear that his body is far-spent to take another beating in the NFL. So rather than play as a backup QB to Andrew Luck and the host of QB options that were used by the Colts in the 30-24 season-finale win over Tennessee, it would probably be good for him to call it quits now.
Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens
You’d be a big moron to entirely blame Baltimore’s horrid 5-11 season finish on Joe Flacco, but you’d also just be a fool to say that he totally had nothing to do with. Yes, Flacco tore ligaments in his left knee on Nov. 22nd, which saw him finish the season on injured reserve (along with other 20 Baltimore players. With such injuries, winning is never easy. Granted, this is a Baltimore team that reached the playoffs in six of seven years before this one, so there were high expectations on the team to at least crawl its way into the postseason games, however difficult things were for them. Case-and-point, the Patriots managed to do it, and so did the Broncos, the Seahawks and divisional rivals, the Steelers, who also had to endure tons of injuries en route to their playoff berths. But thanks to Flacco’s shifty season, and a lack of proper leadership from the three other QBs who served this season, the Ravens now have to rethink their situation, especially because Flacco will be nursing his injury long into the offseason. On any given day, Flacco is a good—if not great—QB who can change the game with his strong arms. But with his bad 2015-16 campaign, coupled with his injury that could well affect the rest of his far-spent career, you can’t help but wonder if it is time for Flacco to call and end to his career, which is starting to take a turn for the worse, and is unlikely to change for the better if Baltimore doesn’t make some solid changes in the offseason.
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Okay, let’s give credit where it’s due. Drew Brees is definitely a top-10 QB who deserves a couple of more years in the NFL. After all those talks about losing his top weapons, and with all the clear-to-see decencies in New Orleans’ defense throughout the season, this guy still managed to put up these impressive numbers and led if the Saints make the playoffs. Still, with all the talks about Sean Peyton leaving New Orleans and the new owners left with the decision of deliberating on whether to keep an aging quarterback with a $27.4 million cap hit in 2016, it’s hard to see Brees staying in New Orleans. But then again, Brees is still a top talent and the Saints would be making a huge mistake to let him, something many teams with QB issues will be keeping an eye out on. So although a case for retirement could be made here, I don’t see the NFL letting Brees take the rest that soon, especially after a productive season, including throwing for a career-high 7 touchdowns in the thrilling shootout win over the NY Giants.