(WVUE) - Nearing the end of his legendary career, Peyton Manning might have missed out on a golden chance in the golden anniversary Super Bowl if he would have listened to the family signal-caller.
"My advice for him last year was to retire. They fired John Fox (Broncos Head Coach) , fired Adam Gase (Broncos offensive coordinator), starting over with a new offense. I didn't know how that was going to be for him. I'm glad he didn't take my advice," said Peyton's father, Archie.
The 2015 offseason wasn't the first time suggestions of Peyton never playing again surfaced. In 2011, Manning had four surgeries on his neck to alleviate pain from a herniated disc. He never played a snap for the Colts that season. The New Orleans-born quarterback admitted this week he could only throw a ball five yards after the surgeries healed. His older brother Cooper also had his doubts that Peyton would never suit up again.
"I think a lot of people did. I think Peyton probably thought it could be the end for him. He worked hard like you've never seen behind the scenes. Really, really, tough therapy there. He's clearly not the same exact player he was before, but he's a bright guy, been around before, and that's paid off, " said Cooper Manning.
Manning returned to the field in 2012, still feeling numbness in his fingertips, but that didn't hurt his accuracy or stat line in Denver.
"When Peyton had the four surgeries, I didn't know if he would play again. I certainly didn't think in these changing teams, I just could not envision he could play as well as he did in those years with the Colts. His second year in Denver he set all the single-season records. The fact they've won four division championships, they've won two AFC championships and gone to the Super Bowl twice. The games he's quarterbacked they've won 50 games. He made a good choice, and he's had good help there, good support. It's been a good run," said Archie.
Peyton first played tackle football at Newman in the seventh grade. After winning the AFC title game, Manning was caught on camera telling Bill Belichick this might be "his last rodeo". So after 29 years in the sport is this the end for Peyton?
"I'm not sure how many rodeos Peyton has been to. I know he's ridden a bull or maybe a horse, a Shetland pony. I like the rodeo term. I think anytime you're approaching 40, you're on borrowed time. I think Peyton, kind of like he does everything. He'll look at it, evaluate it, talk to some people, and make the call. I haven't talk to him, I haven't asked him, and he hasn't asked me. Until then, I'm going to support him. It's an unbelievable run here, and to finish it off playing a Super Bowl is a cherry on top," said Cooper.
This will Peyton's fourth appearance in the "big game", he sports a 1-2 record overall, beating the Bears in 2006. Little brother Eli, he's undefeated in the Super Bowl, beating the Patriots twice. A record-breaking run for one family that will be hard to match.
"Six times out of 50, I don't know why that's happened to us. It's really been six times in the last 10 years. Every time it's been a good ride. The championship games are so memorable, it's such a huge day. I can remember all six of them. Something stands out from each and every one. That sends you to the Super Bowl. Yes, we've been really blessed and our cup runneth over," said Archie.