Peyton Manning showed there was a little left in the tank last Sunday, holding off the Chargers and securing the top seed in the AFC for the Broncos.
However, that tank could be out of gas sooner rather than later. In response to the Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla asking Manning if this playoff run might be his last, the quarterback admitted it was at least a consideration.
“I’d be lying,” Manning said, “if I said I’m not thinking about that.”
Manning is pretty noncommittal here, but that says something in itself. It was a rough season for the 39-year-old future Hall of Famer, arguably his worst as a professional. After a being replaced by backup Brock Osweiler on Nov. 15, the end looked startling near.
His performance against the Chargers was far from impeccable, but he at least showed flashes of desperately needed competency. It wasn’t MVP-caliber Manning, but it was enough for Head Coach Gary Kubiak to name Manning his starter in the AFC Divisional Round.
The five-time MVP will get another crack at a Super Bowl run Jan. 17. when Denver hosts the lowest seeded winner from this weekend’s games. On one hand, a loss there could end up be Manning’s last game should he choose to retire. Another scenario could see Manning lead the Broncos on a championship run and leave him facing an Elway like decision. The uncertainty surrounding a legend like Manning provides great intrigue into what is already looking like a compelling playoffs.