NEWARK -- When Peyton Manning arrived at the scene of Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday night, he put to rest all the rumors that he might retire if the Broncos beat the Seahawks, giving him the chance to go out on top. No one welcomed that news more than John Elway, the Broncos’ executive vice-president of football operations.
“That’s definitely the right call,” said Elway, who lost three Super Bowls early in his career but was able to leave on top with back-to-back Super Bowl wins after the 1997 and 1998 seasons. “He’s got a lot of football ahead of him, and we saw that this year. There’s no need for him to step away, plus he still enjoys playing.”
When Manning announced his desire to play beyond Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium, he said Elway told him he left when he did because he didn’t feel physically capable of playing any longer. The Broncos’ Hall of Famer recalled that final victory over Atlanta on Tuesday during Media Day interviews at the Prudential Center.
“I remember running off the field knowing that was probably the last time I was going to run off the field,” Elway said. “And it was. Also, going into the game, it was the first Super Bowl we went into where we were the heavy favorites. We were used to going into the Super Bowl as heavy underdogs. So, it was nice to go in that game thinking, if we play like we’re capable of, we’d be world champs.”
Whether Super Bowl XLVIII turns out to be Manning’s last game or not, he has the chance to make Super Bowl history as the first quarterback to win Super Bowls with two different franchises. Such an accomplishment would strengthen arguments for him as the greatest quarterback of all-time.
“It would just add to his legacy and add to his greatness,” Elway said. “For me, he’s already in the top five in the discussion. He continues to elevate himself as far as how many votes he’s getting for the Hall of Fame.”