The television cameras caught Peyton Manning telling Bill Belichick after Sunday's AFC title game that this might be his "last rodeo," which is a pretty good indication that he's seriously considering retirement after Super Bowl 50.
And, though it's hard to imagine the NFL without him, Manning should take this golden opportunity to end his Hall of Fame career on the highest possible note.
Manning has one very lucrative year left on his contract with the Denver Broncos, but he doesn't need the money and he you've got to believe he would love to go out the way Ray Lewis did, with his second Super Bowl ring.
But he should go out no matter what. He's 39, has done it all in the game and has paid a big price with the serious neck injury that interrupted his career. He's one of the most beloved players in the history of the sport and this is an opportunity -- win or lose -- to walk off the football field with his head up instead of his feet.
It's obvious that he's not the same guy he was in his prime, but his late-season comeback proved that he's still a special player even in the twilight of his career.