Following 18 seasons of football and a record-breaking career, quarterback Peyton Manning announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday, ending the press conference with the wish: "God bless all of you, and God bless football." Statistically, Manning retires as the NFL's best quarterback.
At the emotional press conference Monday, Manning recounted a story about talking with his grandfather early in his career regarding broadcasters who would be covering his game. Manning said he was excited to call his grandfather when John Madden and Pat Sumrall, his grandfather's favorite broadcast duo, called his game for the first time.
"There's just something about 18," Manning said. "Eighteen's a good number, and today I retire from football. It was the right time."
Manning earned his second Super Bowl title in February, leading the Denver Broncos to a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. Manning previously led the Indianapolis Colts to a 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.
"I revere football. I love the game," Manning said.
"You don't have to wonder if I'll miss it. Absolutely. Absolutely, I will."
Manning is the only quarterback to start the Super Bowl for two different franchises more than once each, and the only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises. He is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and older brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee.
Manning is the first and only quarterback to achieve his 200th career wins (regular and postseason), his five NFL MVP awards are a league record, he was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, has been named to 14 Pro Bowls, has 14 4,000-yard passing seasons (NFL record), and is the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (71,940) and touchdown passes (539).
"Peyton Manning revolutionized the game," Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway said. "Every athlete should look at Peyton Manning what is about. He used every asset God gave him to be the best QB he could be."