By Mark Ackerman
DENVER (CBS4) – After the Super Bowl victory was secured and the confetti rained down, Peyton Manning effectively dodged the question everyone is still asking.
Tracy Wolfson from CBS Sports was the first to ask Manning, “Is this your final game for your career?”
In a clear dodge, Manning responded he wanted to “take time to reflect,” but first wanted to “kiss his wife” and “drink a lot of Budweiser.”
Next, Jim Nantz asked if this was Manning’s “final rodeo” during the trophy presentation. But Manning gave the same coy response, only committing to drinking beer after the game with MVP teammate Von Miller.
It’s hard to relate to what Manning is going through. But legendary hockey goalie Patrick Roy can.
“Right at the last game I knew it was over and I was ready to move on,” said Roy, who decided to call it quits after 19 seasons in net as arguably the best goaltender in NHL history.
The current Avalanche head coach ended his legendary career in 2003. It was important for him to retire while still an elite goalie.
“I knew,” recalled Roy. “It took me about a week after just to make sure I was feeling comfortable with my decision.”
“I think the future will be whatever Peyton wants it to be,” said Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss.
After 14 years as a player, after Weiss retired, he took a year off from baseball to spend with his family.
The Mannings have twin 4-year-olds.
“It’s great being in that carpool at school for a little while,” said Weiss. “You need something to get you going.”
For both Weiss and Roy, that meant coaching.
“That helped fill that void to a degree, but there’s nothing like being a player,” Weiss said.
Weiss said if Manning wants to get back into the game there will be plenty of opportunities.
Manning has been linked to the Tennessee Titans in a possible president or ownership role. He’s been drawn to Tennessee since his college days. His wife Ashley is a minority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies NBA team.
“I’d be surprised if he goes into a management role with a team,” said Boulder sports agent Jack Mills. “Could be, but I don’t see it.”
Mills, who has represented 45 No. 1 draft picks over the years, thinks Manning will follow a long line of quarterbacks, like Phil Simms, Dan Marino and Troy Aikman, into the broadcast booth.
“I think that’s the most natural fit,” said Mills, who also thinks Manning can continue his lucrative endorsement career. “I think his name will be good for quite some time.”
Manning makes an estimated $12 million per season in endorsements for companies like DirecTV, Buick and Nationwide. He’s also capitalized on being the pitchman for Papa John’s — Manning now owns more than 20 pizza shops in Colorado.
Then there’s football — 2016 is the final year of Manning’s contract with the Broncos. He’s expected to make $19 million next year and has a no-trade clause.
Manning’s mother, Olivia, told ESPN she hopes her son retires.
Peyton’s father, Archie, told the NFL network, “I think Peyton’s done in Denver.”
If Manning wants to ‘keep playing’ and the Broncos decide to move on, there will likely be other teams ready to snatch him up. The Los Angeles Rams and the Houston Texans are just two teams that might be a veteran quarterback away from making a playoff run.