JOHN L. PITTS: Super finale for Peyton?




Could Sunday’s Super Bowl be the final game for Peyton Manning?

Some of my friends back in Tennessee who’ve been following his career since college wonder if he might walk away from the NFL if the Denver Broncos win the big game.

If he’s healthy, I bet he’ll stick around.

Peyton will turn 38 in March and his father, Archie, had already retired at that age. But Archie took much more of a beating in his 11 seasons playing for bad New Orleans Saints teams than Peyton has in his 15 seasons with Indianapolis and Denver.

However, Peyton has had a series of surgical procedures on his neck, and that will be the main focus of a physical exam he’ll undergo after the season. Suppose the doctor tells him he’s putting his long-term health at risk if he keeps playing?

Whatever happens Sunday, he has nothing left to prove. Still, it’s hard not to find some significance in his choice of Denver as the site for his comeback. The Broncos had a Hall of Fame quarterback, John Elway, who went out with back-to-back Super Bowl championships.

There was a time when people questioned whether Elway could win “the big one.” Funny, you never hear that any more.

When they honor Peyton Manning at Neyland Stadium in 2047 for the 50th anniversary of his career with the Vols, it would be nice to think he’ll be able to walk onto the field under his own power.

I hope I’m there to see it, too.

Random thoughts

• In the Journal office on Monday, my colleague Dennis Seid asked about the long-term ramifications of Mississippi State coach Rick Ray’s outburst in Oxford. Me: “He’ll never have to buy a drink among MSU fans again.”

• I was actually under the impression that Ray was asking Marshall Henderson about his favorite episode of that beloved TV comedy “F Troop.” Larry Storch was a genius.

• The nice lady who calls to complain when we run Henderson’s photo in the newspaper is going to have a tough winter, I fear.

• Only one way to resolve this – an Ole Miss-MSU rubber match in the SEC tournament. Mr. Slive, get on that.

John L. Pitts (john.pitts@journalinc) is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He shares more random thoughts on his Twitter account, @JohnLPitts.

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