The fine folks over at Mile High Report, in the midst of celebrating the Broncos' Super Bowl victory on Sunday night, managed to catch an interesting interview with Archie Manning on NFL Network after the game regarding his son, Peyton Manning, and his NFL future.
"I think Peyton's done in Denver," Archie Manning said. "I think Peyton's done in Denver. He may be done everywhere."
He then seemed to backtrack a bit, saying, "You know what? I don't stick my nose in it, so I don't know that. I don't know that. But that's my guess."
Peyton Manning declined to say whether he will retire after the Broncos' 24-10 victory over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50, but he was a shell of his old self and it is widely expected that he will hang it up. Nothing is official yet, but his father's comments (and you'd think his dad's guess holds more weight than someone else's guess) are very interesting for one reason: he sounds much more certain that his son is done in Denver than that his son is done period.
It was a very rough season in Denver for Peyton Manning, as he had the most miserable season of his brilliant career, was injured and missed several games, was booed off the field by Broncos fans, and was (briefly) benched in favor of Brock Osweiler. Before the season, John Fox was fired and replaced with Gary Kubiak, a hire that spoke volumes: the franchise was transitioning from Manning. Heck, he needed to take a pay cut to even come back. Kubiak's offense wasn't a fit, and added with Manning's declining skill didn't make a very pretty offense. Lastly, it is widely thought that the Broncos plan to move on from Manning regardless of number 18's decision, as they like Brock Osweiler and would presumably cut Manning if the veteran wants to continue playing.
Considering all of that, it's not hard to see why Archie Manning thinks his son is done in Denver. It seems almost like a forgone conclusion at this point that Peyton won't be back with the Broncos next season, and there may even be a question of whether he'd want to play with the franchise any more in Kubiak's offense. So if Archie Manning truly doesn't know whether Manning will retire or not, it still makes sense why he'd think that his son won't be playing in Denver next year.
The Los Angeles Rams have reportedly already had internal discussions about whether to bring Manning in for 2016 if he wants to keep playing and the Broncos move on from him, so it's possible that the quarterback will have suitors if he wants to keep playing. Hopefully, however, he decides to retire - he has his storybook ending and clearly isn't the player he once was. It's been a tremendous career, but Manning probably won't find a better way to walk into the sunset than the opportunity he has right now.