Sideline Report: Number 18 should finally hang it up

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Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

It’s sometimes odd how football works. One day you’re the best quarterback in the NFL and the next you throw 4 interceptions and finish a game with a passer rating of 0.0. Who would have thought that Peyton Manning would throw 17 picks through 10 regular season games?

This isn’t the Peyton Manning of old. The Manning who would take the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos to the playoffs year-in and year-out is gone. Yes, he is a 5-time NFL MVP and now holds the record for career passing yards (71,871 yards). But his age has finally caught up to him and he finally needs to call it quits.

This season really won’t affect his legacy and his status as one of the greatest QBs of all time. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer and during his glory years he was a surgeon on the field. He lit up opposing defenses and dominated in the regular season. His postseason statistics aren’t nearly as impressive, but he has gone to three Super Bowls, winning a championship with the Colts in 2006. He has been a joy to watch and he made opposing teams dread when they knew he was coming to town.

All of this history that Manning has with the NFL makes this season even weirder. We’re used to his heated rivalry games against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, as well as dominating the Chiefs every time the teams met. Now, he is arguably the worst QB in the league this year with a 9:17 touchdown to interception ratio. He also averages a passer rating of 67.6. That is horrible and is so uncharacteristic of Manning.

This season, every fan started to see the decline of Manning. He wasn’t completing the passes that he normally does and wasn’t nearly as elusive against the rush. It all culminated Sunday afternoon when the Chiefs came to Denver in another AFC West divisional clash. The game started off historic fashion, with a four-yard completion to running back Ronnie Hillman giving Manning the all-time passing record. But after that it all went downhill.

Manning was pulled in the second half in favor of backup QB Brock Osweiler after completing just nine passes — four of them interceptions and five completions to his own team. To put things in perspective, Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos made as many field goals (5) as Manning had completions. It was fun to watch the Chiefs finally beat Manning as a Bronco, but it was strange to see such a great QB fail so miserably.

After the horrific result this past Sunday, the Broncos came out with news that Manning actually had a torn plantar fascia in his foot and already benched him for next week against the Bears. Osweiler will more than likely take the reigns of starting QB to see if he has what it takes to hold a starting job at the NFL level. Whatever Osweiler manages to do, it can’t be much worse.

Manning needs to hang it up. This game was telling of his deterioration and his retirement at the end of the season would be the best career move. It’s been an honor to see such a great player compete every Sunday. We all knew his storied career would end sometime and the time is now. This year has been a struggle and he needs to come to terms with the fact that he just doesn’t have it anymore.

Junior Braden Shaw is a passionate sports fan who follows sports at both the college and professional level. He loves to defend his unpopular opinions on the University of Nebraska, Sporting KC, Chiefs and Royals and is always up for a debate over any game or team.

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