His numbers weren’t pretty, but Peyton Manning did it. He led the Broncos to a 24-10 win over the heavily favored Panthers in Super Bowl 50, throwing for 141 yards and managing the game despite two turnovers.
Von Miller, however, was named Super Bowl MVP. He had 2.5 sacks for a defense that limited the Panthers to 10 points, forced four turnovers and held Cam Newton without a touchdown.
After the win, Manning got a lot of credit. The defense got more.
“Well, there’s a large respect for Peyton Manning,” Denver’s 104.3 The Fan co-host Darren McKee said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “But the torch has been passed to DeMarcus Ware in terms of the true leader of the team. Now, Manning did address the team on Saturday night. That’s a big Broncos tradition (under) Gary Kubiak. It’s a real honor to address the team and a lot of different players have done it over the year, including Brock Osweiler. But on Saturday night, it was Peyton Manning and DeMarcus Ware, and those there really had the feeling that this was Peyton saying goodbye. When I talked to Peyton after the game and just flat out asked him is this your last game int he NFL, he told a story about talking with Tony Dungy and sort of just putting that off a little bit.”
Manning turns 40 in March. He’s had numerous surgeries throughout this career, his body is beat up, and his fast ball isn’t very fast. This has to be the end for Manning, right?
Maybe, maybe not.
“Do you want to know what’s crazy?” McKee asked. “How about this? Peyton Manning got a $2 million bonus for wining the AFC Championship. He got a $2 million bonus for winning tonight. He made up all of his money in his pay cut. He’s got a $20 million contract in tact right now for next year, he’s as healthy as he’s ever been, and it would not surprise me at all if Tom Condon and his agent make the Broncos do something. Are the Broncos going to cut Peyton Manning who just won a Super Bowl with the team? Will Peyton Manning say, ‘Hey, I signed a contract. I intend to live up to it’? Crazier things have happened.
“I would have loved to have seen Peyton Manning take this as his moment,” McKee continued. “He doesn’t have a lot left in the tank. Whatever he has, it’d be sort of nice to ride off into the sunset a la John Elway. But there’s something that tells me he may look around and say ‘Hey, I’ll take a pay cut. We got a great defense. You don’t really want to sign Brock for $15 million, do you?’ They’ve got this kid Trevor Siemian. Have you seen Kevin Hogan at Stanford? They (could) get him in the third round. If (Manning returns), as crazy as it sounds, I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts the Broncos are back in the playoffs next year.”