Last year, the Super Bowl gave us Russell Wilson versus Tom Brady. This year, it’s giving us Cam Newton versus Peyton Manning.
There’s symbolism in that.
“To me, it’s almost like poetic justice in so many ways,” NFL analyst and MMQB guru Peter King said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The only difference is, nobody thought Brady was retiring after last year, and I think most people think Manning is going to retire after this year.”
Manning, who turns 40 in March, had the worst year of his career this season, throwing nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 10 games. In 2013, by comparison, he had 55 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Indeed, Manning’s fall has been fast, and it has been precipitous.
Add it all up, and King doesn’t see Manning coming back for a nineteenth season.
“I think this is it,” King said. I think this is it regardless (of whether the Broncos win or lose). I think in preparing for football and getting healthy enough to play football, (it’s been a struggle). Peyton Manning’s body, to me, is just broken down too much. He told me in the summer that he doesn’t have feeling in the fingertips on his throwing hand. Now, this is just me maybe, but that would seem to be an important element if you’re a quarterback, having feeling in your fingertips. He’s had his foot injury this year. He still has never totally – and he may never totally – get all the feeling back in both arms because of the four surgeries he had on his neck in 2010 and 2011.
“So could he scotch-tape it together and go be somebody’s guru (or) part-time quarterback and play another year and make another $15 million?” King continued. “Of course he could. (But) why do you want to do that? Look, if he wants to do that, more power to him. I never, ever, ever like to tell guys when to retire. But I just don’t think he thinks it’s worth it anymore.”
King also discussed the the latest developments in the NFL-to-L.A. saga.
“My gut feeling is that the Chargers are going to end up in Los Angeles,” he said. “My gut feeling is that I don’t think that’s a great thing either for the Chargers or the NFL. I think the NFL should make one team work great in Los Angeles. Then let the San Diego Chargers go build a stadium in San Diego and be where their passionate fan base is. They’re going to turn into the Clippers if they go to Los Angeles. That’s all there is to it. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”