The 2016 NFL season is underway, with the Broncos beating the Panthers — in a pretty controversial game — on Thursday night. The presence of Peyton Manning in the booth means the sun has officially set on the former Denver quarterback playing in the NFL. He’s too busy with DirecTV’s “Retirement Combine” anyway.
Manning, still the voice and face of the “Sunday Ticket” commercials, entertained fans on Thursday afternoon in Denver with a special set of drills designed to see what life is like when you step away from football, running them through a treacherous gauntlet of intimidating items like washing dishes, leaping onto a couch, throwing a newspaper and pushing a mower with an iPad attached. (Aside: Do they MAKE those? Someone get me one STAT.)
Unfortunately, the Retirement Combine doesn’t really align with Manning’s retirement, regardless of what you might think based on the Sunday Ticket Lionel Richie-filled commercials airing throughout the season.
“I thought the Retirement Combine was great. Lot of fun. I think there are some similarities — I’m doing some dishes,” Manning said. “No kids out there, I’ve got five-year old twins. Not a ton of time for sitting on the couch, relaxing quite as much. Getting them going for school and they’re playing some sports. So I’m having some fun and I’m enjoying it. Changes — not playing, kids started school, so we are enjoying kind of this new chapter.”
See, that’s how you really know Peyton was toast. He walked away from another season of football to take care of two five-year-old twins. I would take all of the shots Cam Newton took on Sunday before handling full-time dad duty.
On the other hand, Peyton hasn’t ever had this much time to kick it and spend time with his family. He gets to enjoy his loved ones and he gets to enjoy watching football and going to football games.
“I’ll be going to a lot of football games, believe it or not. I don’t think that should shock too many people,” Manning said. “Going to some games, some bucket-list type things I’ve never been able to do before. I’ve been tied up the last 25 years, so I kind of look forward to that. Watching games on NFL Sunday Ticket. Keeping up with coaches, guys like Bruce Arians who coached me in Indianapolis, Jim Caldwell. Keeping up with friends, guys that you played with. So I look forward to that aspect of it, being a fan.”
And if you were hoping for a big reveal on his future, well, it’s not happening, people. He’s taking his time.
“I think I’ve earned one fall anyway to kind of go at my own pace,” Manning said. “I think this fall will kind of give me some answers kind of what it is you miss, what it is you don’t miss. What you might want to do. I’ve actually stayed pretty busy this fall.”
Unfortunately for Peyton, there’s no one clamoring to get him back in Denver. He was great, but they understand the time came for him to leave and focus on a brand new quarterback controversy.
Manning actually had a good take on the topic, calling it the “most overanalyzed subject in the city of Denver.”
“It’s the most overanalyzed subject in the city of Denver, this quarterback situation for Denver. I’ll say I have not have added to this analysis. Hey, I’ll pull for quarterbacks is all I’ll say,” Manning said. “Trevor is a good buddy of mine. Enjoyed being with him last year, a great kid. Heck of an opportunity for him. I talked to him [Wednesday] and just told him I was pulling for him. What an exciting opportunity — in this game you need an opportunity to play this game. But I pull for quarterbacks, I really do.”
See? That’s why Manning’s going to crush whatever he does next, especially if it involves being an announcer. Worst case he can just run people through these drills and sell us on Lionel Richie tunes for the next few years.
Source: CBS Sports / WATCH: Peyton Manning’s retirement is not quite as cozy as ‘Sunday Ticket’ ads show