In a long awaited and somberannouncement that came on March 7, Denver Bronco's quarterback Peyton Manning formally retired from NFL Football after 18 years. The press conference was live streamed online and broadcast on TV by several news outlets and news of the retirementbroke on Sunday, March 6, when Manning sent out personal text messages to his fellow Broncos team members.

At 1 PMin Englewood, Colorado, a tearful Manning took to the podium, lips trembling and voice cracking, reading what would be his retirement speech. He began reminiscing about his rookie season playingwith legends like Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino and Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas.

Manning still seemed amazed and humbled by the incredible events that started his NFL career and the people that he met along the way. The speech then transitioned to the task at hand. "When someone thoroughly exhausts an experience they can't help but appreciate it," said Manning. "Eighteen is a good number and today I retire from pro football."

NFL Career

Manning began his professional career as the franchise quarterback for the Colts. He was drafted number onein the 1998 NFL draft from theTennessee Volunteers and began to hit his stride in the 2000's, garnering NFL MVP status in 2003. He would win this award fourmore times in his career, breaking an NFL record. In 2010, Manning had his first Super Bowl berth and won with the Colts in Super Bowl XLI, but later lostSuper Bowl XLIV in 2010.

After a serious neck injury that kept him out the 2011 season and the Colts' unwillingness to pay the $90 million dollar, five-year extension on his contract, the Colts released Manning, leaving his career in limbo.

Manning then experienced aresurgence in 2012 when the Denver Broncos acquired himat the age of 36.

"Grateful is the word that comes to my mind when thinking of the Denver Broncos," said Manning in his speech. He later went on to win AP NFL comeback player of the year and played in two Super Bowls. The Broncos lost Super Bowl XLVIII but went on to win Super Bowl 50, the last highlight of a storied career for a superstar quarterback.

Peyton Manning, pitchman

When Manning wasn't taking snaps on the field, he was a frequent spokesman for Papa Johns, Gatorade, Nike, Reebok, Sprint, ESPN, and Mastercard. His likable southern charm, humble attitude, and television presence made him a perfect pitchman, leading many to believe that a career as NFL analyst might be next on the docket.

Sibling Rivalry

Throughout his career, Manning was frequently compared to his younger brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who also has two NFL titles to his name. While the press has always speculated that there was a friendly rivalry and the elder Manning himself joked about their competition, he never acknowledged that there was anything but love between the two.

Manning finished the press conference, quoting a bible verse from 2 Timothy 4:7 and putting his own spin on it. "Well, I have fought the good fight, I have finished myfootball race and after 18 years, it's time. God Bless all of you andGod Blessfootball," and with that, a glorious NFLcareer comes to an end.

NFL Highlights

  • All Rookie First Team (1998)
  • NFL Offensive Player of the Year (2004, 2013)
  • 5 time NFL MVP (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2014)
  • AP NFL comeback player of the year (2012)
  • 14 NFL Pro Bowl appearances
  • Pro Bowl MVP (2005)
  • 2 Super Bowl Wins (2007 Colts, 2016 Broncos)
  • 2 Super Bowl Appearances (2010 Colts, 2014 Broncos)
  • Super Bowl MVP (2007)
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