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Peyton Manning may retire, spend time with wife and family

Peyton Manning BroncosPeyton Manning is 37 years old and coming off the best regular season of his historic career. He made the Super Bowl for the third time and has the chance to win his second ring. Would he walk away from the game and retire if he wins? That’s the buzz around the Super Bowl, and some even feel like this may be his last game ever.

Manning said during the week when asked if this would be his last game that he still wants to continue playing.

“When you still enjoy the preparation and the work part of it, I think you ought to be still doing that. I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can’t produce, if I can’t help a team, that’s when I will stop playing. If that’s next year, then maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing,” Manning said.

National NFL writer Mike Freeman at Bleacher Report and formerly CBS Sports says a lot of people believe Peyton Manning will retire win or lose. He believes Manning didn’t publicize his decision because he doesn’t want to turn the game into a huge storyline about him retiring. That’s what happened when Jerome Bettis and his Pittsburgh Steelers played the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit for the 2005 season. It happened with Ray Lewis last year when everyone knew he was going to retire. Both were lucky enough to win the big game, but will Manning be?

If Manning is considering retirement, he’s keeping it quiet on purpose.

But at 37 years old, how much more can Manning give to the game? He just won his fifth MVP award, which is an NFL record. If he can win a second Super Bowl, his career would be validated beyond belief. What more would he have to show?

I didn’t believe most of the retirement speculation surrounding Peyton until I saw Drew Brees’ interview with David Letterman. In the interview, he talked like he thought Peyton Manning would be retiring. That really made me think it could be coming to an end.

Also during the week, Peyton talked about how much he’s enjoyed being in the New York area and getting to play uncle to brother Eli’s children. Eli has two kids, as does Peyton. Peyton and his wife Ashley have been married since 2001 and met before Peyton entered college. She’s really only known him as a guy to whom football has been his life. Imagine how things will be for them when he no longer has to worry about playing. They have fraternal twins — Mosley Thompson and Marshall Williams — who will turn three years old in less than two months. You don’t think he might want to quit worrying about listening to practice plays with his helmet on in the hot tub so he can spend time with the wife and kids? I bet you he does.

Peyton Manning: I’m proud of the ‘ducks’ that I throw

Peyton-Manning-BroncosIn one of the columns that he wrote for The Monday Morning Quarterback this year, Richard Sherman listed who he thought were the five smartest quarterbacks in the NFL. Peyton Manning was No. 1 on his list, but that is no fun for reporters who are looking to drum up controversy the week before the Super Bowl. That’s why some have focused on Sherman’s assessment of Manning’s arm strength.

“His arm, however, is another story,” Sherman wrote. “His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks.”

Sherman was asked on Wednesday about what he wrote, and he did not back down.

“I still feel the same way I felt,” he told reporters. “He’s a great quarterback, he does a great job. But at the same time, when he catches the ball, he doesn’t necessarily catch the laces all the time. But he throws an accurate ball, regardless of how he catches it, how he gets it — he delivers it on time and accurately.”

Anyone who has watched Manning play over the years can tell you that he throws the prettiest ugly ball in NFL history. At least half of all of the completions Manning has thrown prove how overrated the spiral is. He had no problem admitting that this week, and even said that he takes pride in it.

“I believe it to be true as well,” Manning said Thursday morning, via Pro Football Talk. “I do throw ducks. I’ve thrown a lot of yards- and touchdowns-ducks, so I’m actually quite proud of it.”

When Manning first returned from his neck procedures, analysts loved to talk about how his passes seemed wobbly and his velocity was lacking. He’s been throwing balls like that throughout his entire record-breaking, Hall of Fame career. The ugliness of Manning’s passes has never been much of an issue, and I don’t expect it to be one on Sunday.

Eli Manning thought Peyton was done after neck surgery

Peyton Manning BroncosPeyton Manning was in such terrible physical shape following his first neck surgery that Eli thought his older brother was “done.”

Eli told NFL Network on Wednesday’s “Super Bowl Live” show that Peyton could barely throw a football after his first surgery.

“Yeah, and I saw him after that first surgery, this neck surgery, and I was pretty much convinced that he was done,” Eli told NFL Network. “There was no way he could come back and play football. That first time he went and we were just throwing it in the backyard of our house. We’re throwing 15 yards away, and it was a lob. He couldn’t throw 15 yards on a line. It had no pop. I was like, I mean — he wanted to come back and play football, and I didn’t think it would happen.”

Peyton missed all of the 2011 season because of his neck. He became a free agent and signed with the Denver Broncos in 2012, and Eli says as recently as the 2012 preseason he was worried about how his brother would do.

“I remember watching his preseason game last year and I was worried. I was kind of like, ‘I don’t know how this is going to work,’” Eli said. “If you gotta make a throw, or someone’s in your face, and you can’t step into the throw, can you make all those throws that you gotta make a lot of to end games.”

Peyton underwent neck surgery in May 2011 and then had cervical fusion surgery a few months later in September that led him to miss the entire season. We heard reports about how much Peyton was struggling with his arm, but over time he was able to regain his arm strength.

Peyton still doesn’t throw the prettiest ball in the league, but he gets it where it needs to go, and his ability to read defenses and coverages allows him to find the open man like few other quarterbacks. He’s had two great seasons with Denver and will likely be MVP this season. Eli, meanwhile, threw for just 18 touchdowns and a league-high 27 interceptions this season. Who figured Peyton would be thriving and Eli would be struggling at this point?

Peyton Manning: John Elway ripped Broncos after preseason loss to Seahawks

John ElwayThe Denver Broncos got demolished the last time they faced the Seattle Seahawks. Fortunately, the 40-10 loss came in preseason play. The team that lost to Seattle in August is far different from the one that will take the field in the Super Bowl on Sunday. The preseason game may have been meaningless, but Peyton Manning says John Elway took it very seriously.

“John pretty much laid it on us after that game — that was a butt kicking,” Manning told reporters this week, via Pro Football Talk. “He talked about what he thought our potential could be and didn’t want to see that wasted. I think guys got the message.”

Manning was in midseason form during the loss, completing 11 of 16 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. But the Broncos were pretty awful on defense and special teams. They allowed a 107-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and watched a fumble get taken 106 yards the other way for a score.

“He might have been giving a message to coaches as well as the players and everybody in the room got the message,” Manning added. “It was the first time he had addressed the team and when he had something to say it was important.”

Elway probably has not been angry with his team many times since. What he can provide this week is Super Bowl insight from someone who appeared in five Super Bowls and lost three of them. The Broncos would be wise to listen as carefully as they did more than five months ago.

Denver airport lists ‘Omaha!’ as destination in honor of Peyton Manning

Denver-airport-Omaha

Peyton Manning has given new meaning to the word “Omaha” throughout the playoffs, though the veteran quarterback would never tell us what the pre-snap call means. Manning is always changing plays at the line of scrimmage and calling out coverages, and there’s a good chance “Omaha” is just an easy word to say that signifies that he’s about to bark out an instruction. That isn’t stopping Denver International Airport from having some fun with it.

On Monday, the Denver airport added an exclamation point next to any flights that were arriving from or departing for the city of Omaha. Get it?

[Read more...]

Did Peyton Manning say ‘Fatman’ as a Montana audible call? (Video)

Peyton Manning BroncosDeciphering Peyton Manning’s audible calls is about as much fun as watching his games themselves. It’s even more fun when he appears to say something like “fatman” as one of his audible calls.

During the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game in Denver on Sunday, Manning changed a play on third down from the Patriots 38 that went for 28 yards down to the 11. The play turned out to be a running call to Knowshon Moreno — an inside handoff that he took outside.

You probably noticed that in the call, Manning mentioned “Montana.” Then he said something like “fatman” or “batman” and “Omaha” before saying “set hut” and getting the snap.

I’m going to try breaking the play down piece by piece to figure it out.

First off, Ron Jaworski has said that Peyton Manning will have a number of play calls that are coded to a keyword system. Jaws says that Peyton will code the plays to different legendary quarterbacks. So, it’s quite possible that the “Montana” call is named after Joe Montana that corresponds to an inside handoff from the shotgun, which has been one of Manning’s staples since he was with the Indianapolis Colts. I’m not sure whether he said “Batman” or “Fatman,” and I’m not sure if either call even means something. It’s quite possible that “Batman” could refer to one of the Broncos players — like a nickname for Knowshon Moreno — or if he said “fatman,” that could be some sort of code for what kind of blocking he wanted.

One thing we know for certain is that for the first half of the game, “Omaha” meant Peyton wanted the snap right after he said “set hut,” because that’s what kept happening.

Video via Next Impulse Sports

Peyton Manning adds ‘Marshall’ to Omaha snap call

Peyton Manning Omaha

Peyton Manning generated a ton of notoriety and publicity for “Omaha” by constantly saying it as part of his pre-snap directions during the Denver Broncos’ playoff game against the San Diego Chargers last weekend. Though Manning varied the meaning of “Omaha” throughout the game, it was clear that “Omaha” was a keyword or signal for his teammates.

At some points during the game, “Omaha” seemed to signify that Manning wanted his center to snap the ball on his next sound. At other times, “Omaha” seemed to mean Manning was going to a hard snap count to try to get the Chargers to jump offsides. The plan worked, because San Diego committed five neutral zone infractions during the game.

Manning’s mentions of Omaha led the city and steak company to take note and attempt to capitalize on the publicity. Omaha Steaks were said to be weighing offering Peyton an endorsement deal. Several companies said they were going to donate money every time Peyton said “Omaha” against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Well Peyton used the “Omaha” call about as liberally in the AFC title game as he did against the Chargers. He used it on almost every other play to start the game against the Pats. At least in the first 20 minutes of the game, Omaha seemed to mean what it meant for part of the playoff game against San Diego — snap the ball on my first sound.

Peyton also mixed another call into his audibles against the Patriots: Marshall. It was less clear what the “Marshall” mention meant, but we do know that Marshall is the name of a former Broncos wide receiver (Brandon), a university, and Peyton’s son.

Even though “Marshall” picked up some steam, CBS was still in love with Omaha for most of the first half. They continuously mentioned it, and even played the Counting Crows song on their way to a commercial break.