Peyton Manning had a dream postseason. He beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship (again), and he became the first starting quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises.
Manning wasn’t spectacular in Super Bowl 50. Far from it. He was solid at times, but other times looked very human. He also turns 40 in March.
Manning’s got to retire, right?
“Well, he’s the only one that knows that,” newly minted Hall of Famer Tony Dungy said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He knows how he feels and what he can do, and believe me, he’s his toughest critic. I personally think it’s all going to come down to Denver’s plan. If John Elway goes to him and says, ‘Hey, we really got money issues, we’ve got to sign Von Miller and Malik Jackson, we don’t want to lose (Brock) Osweiler, it’s really going to put a cramp in us to have you back,’ then I think Peyton’s going to retire. But if Elway says, ‘Let’s try to win this, I’d like to see you win two in a row like I did; if you feel good and if you’re healthy and you feel like you’re at a better point than last offseason at this point, then come back and let’s try to do it again,’ then I think he’ll come back.”
Manning isn’t the only quarterback whose 2016 status is in doubt. So is Johnny Manziel’s.
Dungy, who loves reclamation projects and championed the return of Michael Vick, sees potential in Manziel, but Manziel has to see it first.
“Johnny Manziel has a future, but he’s got to recognize that he does need some help,” Dungy said. “He’s got to want to make some changes in his life, and if he doesn’t recognize that, then he’s not going to be able to be reached. To me, that was the great thing about Michael. When I went to see him, he said, ‘This is where I’m at, this is where I want to go, I see where things have gone wrong and I‘ve had to make some changes in my life.’ Guys have done that and done it well. Cris Carter has talked about getting cut by Buddy Ryan and never thinking that was going to happen, but it was the best thing in his life and going to Minnesota with a different attitude and going from being cut to a Hall of Famer. But if you don’t recognize that, hey, I’m doing some things wrong, I’m the problem here and I need to change, then it’s going to be very difficult. I’m praying for Johnny that he does recognize it.”
And, finally, there’s Cam Newton. The league MVP was highly criticized this week for his press-conference theatrics, not to mention his unwillingness to dive for a fumble in the final minutes of Super Bowl 50.
Dungy’s take? If it’s the regular season, don’t dive. If it’s the first play of the Super Bowl, don’t dive. But if it’s the fourth quarter and you’re down by six with just a few minutes to go, dive. And then scratch and claw for the ball.
“You have to get the ball back or you’re going to lose the game,” Dungy said. “You’ve got to dive in there, get that ball and even if Derek Anderson has to go in there on fourth down, you at least have a chance. If you don’t get that ball, you have no chance to win the Super Bowl.”