Super Bowl XLVIII won't be Peyton Manning's swan song.
At least that's what Archie Manning believes, and while some mothers out there might tell you differently, fathers always know best.
“I think he still enjoys it,” Archie said in a phone interview with the New York Times' Tom Pedula. “If he can continue to enjoy it and stay healthy, I think he wants to play.”
Already one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, Cooper's younger brother is a day away from completing his 15th NFL campaign—and second full one since missing an entire year with what was once thought to be a potentially career-ending neck injury. He has won one Super Bowl, five MVP awards and been named to the AP All-Pro First Team seven times.
If he were to retire after winning a second Super Bowl, no one would blame him. There's only so much you can accomplish in an NFL career, and Manning has done it all at an extremely high level. Moreover, the prospect of walking away from the game as a champion is a tantalizing one at the very least.
So much so that Bovada has even provided a prop bet on whether or not Manning will retire before the start of the 2014 regular season should the Broncos beat the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Still, while speculation surrounding Manning's retirement has increased significantly over the past week, the odds aren't strong. The "he won't retire" option on the above bet is a staggering favorite at -1500, and NFL Network's Rich Eisen backs up that belief:
The idea that Peyton would retire if he won next Sunday never struck me as realistic.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 26, 2014
The biggest hint Manning will stick around?
He can still play. The 37-year-old is coming off the most productive season of his career, in which he broke single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns, won MVP and picked apart NFL secondaries like he was a mean P.E. teacher picking on his kindergarten students.
Even dad was surprised about his son's year, per FOX News Sunday:
Archie Manning on Peyton’s comeback: "I don't think any of us had any idea they would be as productive as they have been this year." #FNS— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) February 2, 2014
According to Archie, though, it's not all necessarily about the numbers.
“He’s 37 years old, and when you are at that age, taking it one year at a time is a smart thing to do," he said. "One thing Peyton is not doing, Peyton is not chasing anything. He’s not chasing any records. But he still likes to play.”
Will Peyton retire after Super Bowl XLVIII?
Manning currently trails only Brett Favre by 6,874 passing yards and 17 touchdowns on the career all-time list.
Of course, while everyone else is busy focused on Manning's future, Archie is simply busy being a nervous father.
“No, no, no. It’s hard. It’s just flat hard,” said Archie, via the New York Daily News' Christian Reid. “It’s not just the Super Bowl, it’s every Sunday — these guys are out there playing in a pro football game and I’m nervous for ’em.”
Unfortunately for Archie, if he's right about Peyton's future in the NFL, it's not going to get any easier in the upcoming years, either.