Being old makes one wiser by having perspective on life, especially in the case of athletes. Athletes tend to gain perspective as they wrap up their career in sports. There’s humility that comes with it when a player’s career comes to an end.
Peyton Manning has reached that stage. No, he is not retiring, but he acknowledges the end is going to be near soon. He knows Father Time will always be undefeated when it comes to skills being eroded. He has experienced frustration a month ago when he was struggling. He is not the type of quarterback that will be great for four months anymore. He is going through ups and downs as part of an aging quarterback.
He is going to enjoy every moment while he is still playing. He knows he is fortunate to still play at the age of 38. That’s why he is more reflective rather than taking postseason for granted. It could be his last at playing at a high level.
Maybe that’s why he does not get worked up about the pressure of winning another Super Bowl championship. Maybe that’s why he does not look at the playoff game against the Colts as a grudge match. He knows life is too short to get caught up with the silliness.
Don’t mistake that to not being interested in winning another Super Bowl championship. He still does. He is not playing football just for the love of it. He wants to get at least three more championships before he retires.
He thought he would get one last season. His team was good enough to get to the Super Bowl, but they weren’t good enough to beat the Seahawks in that big game last year. The loss hurt, but he wasn’t going to let it bother him. That did not sit well with some Broncos fans. They wanted him to get angry and depressed.
The loss should be enough to stick it to his craw. He did not need to act like an idiot to show disgruntled fans how hurt he was. There are better ways to express how disappointed he was.
Manning hopes he can apply the lessons he learned in the Broncos’ 43-8 Super Bowl loss to the Seahawks. We will see if he can. It won’t be easy. He has been hurt. It has affected his ability to throw the football.
Maybe the rest from a bye week in the playoffs last week could get him back on track. If only it was that simple.
It remains to be seen if he can get it done. He even has to wonder if he still has it. We all know he won’t admit it publicly. Players never reveal what they are thinking.
That’s why Sunday’s divisional round game against the Colts is going to be a curiosity. Does he have one more magic in him?
Everything went perfect last year for him until the Super Bowl. This year hasn’t been smooth sailing. He started off well, but in December, everything went so wrong for him. He couldn’t throw. The offensive line struggled to the point he was getting hit hard, which contributed to more pain.
John Elway noticed his quarterback wasn’t having fun, and he told him that when the Broncos were bullied by the Rams in November. In a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals few weeks ago, Manning looked like he did not want to play with the way he was getting hit and intercepted. It has been sad to watch.
Manning has forgotten all that now. He doesn’t have time to think about the pain or his struggles last month. His objective is to win four playoff games that would help him win a championship. That’s been his focus.
He also has tried to have fun with it. He knows this could be his last run in awhile. Teams don’t achieve excellence three years in the league that stress parity. That’s why he is focusing on finding a way to get it done rather than dwell on his woes.
He’s ready to go. He is curious to see how much he has left. This is about the journey now. It either ends Sunday or whenever in January.
He hopes it ends with him hoisting the Lombardi.
That would make this season more rewarding than the last two years after what he has endured this season.
Rather than dwelling how bad it can be, Manning is ready to get started.
He knows postseason moments are getting shorter by the year.
That’s why he is embracing this rather than approach it with trepidation.
Follow or Contact Leslie Monteiro: @LightRodWriter