From the time Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos in March of 2012, he's been in a race with Father Time. Now in his fourth season in Denver, Manning has passed for 14,863 yards and 131 touchdowns as a Bronco.
He was named the 2012 Comback Player of the Year, took home his fifth league MVP award for his record-setting 2013 season and has made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons with the Broncos.
He also led the Broncos to a Super Bowl berth, albeit in a losing effort. All of his Mile High accomplishments have come on the heels of four neck surgeries, of which, he's still feeling the effects. He wears a glove on his throwing hand at times, because he "can't feel anything" in the fingertips of his throwing hand.
At 39 years old, Manning is in the fourth season of a five-year contract with the Broncos. Empirical evidence tells us that we can expect him to be prolific again in 2015, but compared to other star quarterbacks pushing 40, there isn't much data to compare him to.
Last season, he faded down the stretch. As Aaron Schatz points out in the video above, it's hard to say whether Manning's 2014 decline was a result of the quad injury he suffered, or if was the imminent effects of Father Time.
Based on what we've seen from him in training camp, I lean toward the second half of 2014 being an outlier. The only thing that will derail Manning's football career will be another significant injury, or a self-made choice by the Sheriff to hang up his cleats.
The bottom line is, with Gary Kubiak's offensive influence, the commitment to run the ball and the Broncos elite defensive talent, it's way too early to call the curtains on Peyton Manning's career.
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