NFL: What Year Did Peyton Manning Retire?
Legendary Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning retired from the NFL after the 2015 season. He played 17 largely brilliant seasons in the NFL, but his last four seasons were not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination.
Manning played the first 13 years of his career with the Indianapolis Colts, where he established himself as one of the best players the league has ever seen. In 2010, he had another great season, throwing for 4,700 yards and 33 touchdowns. However, he had suffered from a neck injury that was starting to sap his physical gifts. Manning had surgery to deal with a pinched nerve in the area and missed the entire 2011 season. At that point, questions swirled about whether Manning would return to the NFL, and if he did, how effective he would be.
The Colts did not want to find out how much Manning had left in the tank since they had the number one pick in the draft and were set to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. Fortunately for NFL fans, other teams had an interest in allowing Manning to continue his storied career. The Denver Broncos had a famous quarterback of their own leading their football operations department in John Elway, who was eager to give Manning the keys to the team.
At that point, the Broncos were on the doorstep of becoming a Super Bowl contender. They made the Divisional Playoff Round in 2011 as the 25th ranked scoring offense with Tim Tebow under center, but had talented players all over the roster. If they could get Manning to play at even half the level he did with Indianapolis, the team would be a force to be reckoned with.
As it turned out, Manning was the perfect piece at the perfect time for Denver. He immediately stepped into the huddle with his trademark command of the huddle, and knew how to utilize his weapons. Wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker immediately flourished playing with Manning, catching 10 and 13 touchdowns each respectively. The Broncos arguably should have made the AFC championship game in 2012, but a miracle received by the Baltimore Ravens knocked them out earlier than they should have been.
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Peyton Manning's Best Season
Manning’s best individual season with Denver came in 2013, when he re-wrote the NFL record books. He threw for an incredible 5,477 yards and a whopping 55 touchdowns. Both statistics are single-season records, and will be hard for anyone to break, even in an era where passing is emphasized. It was pretty clear from Week 1 of that campaign that he was on his way to doing something great. They opened the season against the Ravens, where Manning tossed 7 touchdowns and 462 yards passing. He never looked back.
Manning’s final year in the league in 2015 was the worst statistical season of his career. For the first time with the Broncos, he did not play all 16 regular-season games. He also threw for a career low 9 touchdowns, which was 17 fewer than his previous career low. His yards per pass attempt also dropped to 6.8, so it seemed evident that he was losing his skill at age 39. Fortunately for the team, though, their defense that season was one of the best in the NFL.
The Broncos made the Super Bowl in 2015, which would end up being the final game of Manning’s brilliant career. He only threw for 141 yards in that contest, but linebacker Von Miller and his teammates picked up the slack. Miller forced two fumbles and posted 2.5 sacks on the way to securing Super Bowl MVP honors.
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