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(RNN) – Peyton Manning has said “Omaha” for the final time.

After a record-breaking career, Peyton Manning is stepping away from the NFL, ending the press conference where he announced his retirement with the word that has become a staple of his pre-snap routine.

“God bless all of you, and God bless football,” Manning said.

The retirement announcement came at an emotional press conference Monday. He recounted a story about talking with his grandfather early in his career about the broadcasters who would be covering his game. Manning said he was excited to call his grandfather when John Madden and Pat Sumrall, his grandfather’s favorite broadcast duo, called his game for the first time.

Manning retires after 18 seasons, the same as his jersey number. He referenced that coincidence in the announcement.

“There’s just something about 18,” Manning said. “Eighteen’s a good number, and today I retire from football. It was the right time.”

Manning wrapped up his second Super Bowl title in February, leading the Denver Broncos to a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. Manning has previously led the Indianapolis Colts to a 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

“I revere football. I love the game,” Manning said. “You don’t have to wonder if I’ll miss it. Absolutely. Absolutely, I will.”

Statistically, Manning retires as the NFL’s best quarterback. He holds the single-season and career record for most passing yards and passing touchdowns and is tied for the single-game touchdown record. He also won a record five MVP awards from The Associated Press and has the most wins by any quarterback in NFL history.

He also holds the record for interceptions by a rookie, which he joked he had been hoping would be broken, perhaps by his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

“Peyton Manning revolutionized the game,” Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway said. “Every athlete should look at Peyton Manning what is about. He used every asset God gave him to be the best QB he could be.”

Manning was the first to defeat 31 NFL teams and only he and Brett Favre have defeated all 32 NFL teams.

His retirement comes at the end of the worst season of his career. Manning was injury-prone and missed six games while throwing for 2,249 yards and nine touchdowns – both career-lows. It was one of only three seasons where he didn’t throw for at least 4,000 yards and the only one with fewer than 26 touchdowns.

Speculation had swirled for months that this would be Manning’s last season, and he said it extended even to his own family.

“(Before the Super Bowl) my daughter Mosely asked me, ‘Daddy is this the last game.’ ‘Yes, Mosely, this is the last game,'” Manning said. “Then she asked, ‘Daddy, is this the last game ever?’ And that’s just when I shook my head in amazement because I was thinking Mort and Adam Schefter had gotten to my 5-year-old daughter to cultivate a new source.”

Both are ESPN reporters and “Mort” refers to Christ Mortensen, who broke the news of Manning’s retirement announcement Sunday.

“We all had an idea what a special player Peyton was, but what we didn’t know was how far his impact stretched beyond the field,” Denver Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said. “If there’s list of achievement you need to achieve greatness, you have checked every box.”


Article Courtesy of WOIO Cleveland 19 News

Picture Courtesy of KMGH-TV Denver, CNN, and WOIO Cleveland 19 News

First and Second Video Courtesy of the NFL, Twitter, and WOIO Cleveland 19 News

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