By Rich Kurtzman
The Super Bowl is a crazy thing.
For many, if not all of the men playing in the game, it’s a dream come true. For most, it’s a first-time affair and success will be uncharted territory.
A victory and realizing a personal dream is enough to make some act wildly, or at least think crazily.
Safety Mike Adams, who is going to the Super Bowl for the first time in his 13-season NFL career, said he’s going to walk home if the Denver Broncos win. Adams grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, a mere 12 miles from the site of Super Bowl XLVIII, Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
“If we win the Super Bowl, I’m going to keep my helmet and pads on and I’m walking home,” Adams told the Denver Post. “After I get to the IHOP on Route 3, I’ll start hitchhiking. But they’d probably think I’m just some crazy person.”
For Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the plan is quitting football altogether. At least, that’s how it started.
“I set a goal to play five years, I’ve played six,” Rodgers-Cromartie told Ian Rapaport of NFL Network.
On Tuesday, he backed off the retirement talk. “They misunderstood what I’m saying. I’ve got a one-year deal,” said Rodgers-Cromartie. “There’s been plenty of times when guys get a one-year deal and it doesn’t pan out and that’s it. That motivates you to go out there and play hard and stuff like that.”
At only 27 years old, DRC was clearly the Denver defense’s top player in the secondary all season long, seemingly one of the best in the game of football this season. Losing DRC to retirement would certainly hurt the Broncos chances of winning the AFC West for a fourth straight time and playing in a second straight Super Bowl.
Speaking of diminishing chances, if Peyton Manning were to retire following a second Super Bowl victory Sunday night, the Broncos would be back to square one. Manning is currently 37 years old, just finished his 15th professional football season in 16 years and is only three years removed from his multiple neck surgeries. Still, Manning doesn’t sound like he’ll hang his Hall of Fame-worthy cleats up after the end of this run.
“When you still enjoy the preparation and the work part of it, I think you ought to be still doing that,” Manning explained, Monday. “I think as soon as I stop enjoying it, if I can’t produce, if I can’t help a team, that’s when I will stop playing. If that’s next year, then maybe it is. I certainly want to continue to keep playing.”
Or will he?
During NFL Media Day on Tuesday, when asked if he will retire after Super Bowl 48, Manning answered, “I have no idea.”
That’s the thing, no one knows for sure. If Manning and the Broncos were to win, it’d be his second NFL title, pushing him higher in the pantheon of quarterbacking lore, further securing his legacy as the greatest quarterback to ever strap on cleats and squeeze into a helmet; certainly the greatest to wear gloves through his biggest games.
Retirement to cap off this historic NFL season doesn’t seem out of place if Peyton decides that’s his best choice; talk about a bittersweet ending if you’re a Broncos fan.
Of course, winning a franchise’s third NFL Championship would be worth it, though we’d all miss Manning’s “Hurry, hurries” and “Omaha, Omahas.” Not to mention his awe-inspiring ability to throw the football with profound accuracy.
For more news and updates about the NFL Playoffs, visit NFL Playoffs Central.
Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.