Last week over at Grantland, Charlie Pierce wrote a column about why Peyton Manning should retire:
Peyton Manning is 39 years old. Four years ago, he missed an entire season because of a neck injury that required multiple surgeries. (The football career of his older brother, Cooper, came to an end at the University of Mississippi because Cooper was shown to have a congenital narrowing of the spinal column.) He sometimes wears gloves when he plays, because the injuries to his neck have deprived him of the feeling in the fingertips of his right hand. That means whenever he goes out for ice cream with his kids, he can’t feel the cone. When he embraces them, the sensation doesn’t extend throughout his fingers. I don’t know how it affects his driving, and I don’t think I want to know. Try imagining what it’s like. You can’t, because you’re not Peyton Manning with his fingertips having gone dead four years ago.
And this is why I hate that drive against Baltimore so much. It’s because that drive is the classic brand of anesthetic for the football conscience. Up until then, Manning looked like a battered 39-year-old trying to play the hardest position in his sport, and not being in any way up to the job. His team looked as though it was completely unable to protect an aging quarterback with limited-to-no mobility. But, then, Manning summoned up the strength to lead that last drive, albeit one in which he handed the ball off a lot, and we had to hear about how he toughed it out, that rugged old man with the dead fingertips.
Also at ESPN, is Kevin Van Valkenburg’s bonus piece on Manning.
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