As Peyton Manning and the Broncos put away the Carolina Panthers with a thrilling late touchdown in Super Bowl 50—one that set off a big celebration in the Manning suite—younger brother Eli stood impassive among his jubilant family.
So what was Eli thinking so deeply about? Why was he so non-chalant?
The Giants quarterback—who has two Super Bowl rings of his own—explained his stoic reaction to a cameraman in a video posted on TMZ.com.
“I was just focused on whether they’d go for two and the defense had to step up and make some stops,” Eli said before saying the memes on the situation were “all good stuff.”
When asked whether he though the 39-year-old Peyton would retire Eli said, “I don’t know. Whatever he wants to do.”
Whenever Peyton does retire, he is certain to be a Hall-of-Famer in his first year of eligibility. A retirement now would send him out on top—something few sports icons have been able to do.
John Elway, the Bronc0s Executive Vice President of Operations who brought Manning to Denver following the 2011 season, is one of those few who have done it. The longtime Broncos quarterback led the team to back-to-back Super Bowl wins following the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
Michael Jordan did—sort of. His second of three retirements came after he hit the series-clinching shot in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against Utah that secured the Bulls’ second three-peat of the 90s. Jordan would retire before the start of the next season after it became clear that Phil Jackson was leaving and both Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman would be moving on.
Of course while Jordan and Elway’s abilities hadn’t slipped much at those times, Peyton’s has. The five-time NFL MVP suffered through a foot injury before finally shutting it down for a few weeks during the middle of the season.
In nine starts he accumulated 2,249 passing yards while completing 59.8 percent of his passes and throwing 9 TDs—versus 17 interceptions—good for a career-low quarterback rating of 67.9. Nonetheless the Broncos won seven of his nine starts thanks to a defense that ranked first in the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game.