The Very End of Legendary Sports Careers are Rarely Pretty
As the Manning era comes to an end, let’s not expect it to be pretty.
The one thing we all have in common is that we will all grow old and suffering will be a result. Peyton Manning might be suffering from a bad case of ‘ain’t what it used to be’s.’ The end of legendary careers don't usually involve legendary play. They involve demise. Decline. Defeat. And possibly, denial.
Almost no one makes it look good. The rare exceptions is John Elway. After 14 seasons and maybe showing small signs of detioration, number 7 takes two Super Bowls. It doesn’t usually happen that way.
It usually looks more like Brett Favre in a Vikings uniform. Babe Ruth as a Boston Brave. Larry Bird lying on the sideline because he was playing after breaking his back. Michael Jordan and Washington Wizards not making the playoffs.
Watch Kobe Bryant right now. It's not pretty.
The legends make it look effortless. Then, someday, they don't. Then, it's over.
Realizing that one cannot do what one used to be able to do is a bummer. It’s a bummer to watch and it’s a bummer to feel. However, it is, and always will be big part of sports, and life.
Sometimes, it’s the price of having a great player. You trust them implicitly, for good reason, and make a huge investment in them. Then, if they age on the team, eventurally, they falter.
Best case scenario is they win a championship in their last season and ride off into the sunset.
Maybe that's possible with Peyton Manning. It's worth hoping all the way into the playoffs. Then, it's time to reconcile ourselves with the fact that the great #18, or number whatever, in whatever sport, is not immortal, and thank them for the memories.