The Sports Section

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NFL

Peyton Manning Announces Retirement

On Sunday the Denver Broncos announced that Peyton Manning would be retiring from the NFL. On Monday millions of sports fans tuned in to watch an emotional Manning give his farewell to the game after 18 years in the league.

As the oldest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history (39 years old) Manning led the Broncos past the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl 50. Peyton is definitely more like the cowboy riding into the sunset, not on a wild young COLT or on a bucking BRONCO, but on his trusty steed. However, we all know it won’t be the last we see of “TV personality Peyton Manning.” As a matter of fact, this article may be a little overkill, as one doesn’t have to be a sports fan and watch endless hours of NFL coverage to know that Manning has played his final game in the NFL.

The two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback played his first 13 seasons as an Indianapolis Colt and finished his Hall of Fame career with the Denver Broncos, winning a ring with each team (Colts in 2007). The all-time leader in passing yards (71,940), passing touchdowns (539), He finished his career in a tie with Brett Favre for all-time wins by a quarterback (186). Manning’s biggest “numbers” season was in 2013, when he set single season records in passing touchdowns (55), passing yards (5,477).

Manning was known for his ability to change plays at the line when he scanned the defense in front of him. It was his uncanny way of picking apart those defenses in milliseconds and making the right decisions that led to his success as a quarterback. Peyton Manning’s talent on the field put him in the limelight, but his charisma and sense of humor has made him much more than a sports icon. He will have plenty of time to scan his future. I’m sure he will have continued success in post-NFL life.

As an Indiana native and a Miami Dolphin fan, I’ve had mixed emotions over the years about Manning the player, but as a true sports fan I feel blessed to have witnessed such a great athlete and a class act. “Omaha!”

Calvin Johnson Announces Retirement

While Manning’s retirement was expected, Calvin Johnson’s came as a bit of a shock. The Detroit Lions were pressing the all-pro wide receiver for a decision, and I’m sure they weren’t real pleased with his response. To Lions fans, this has to compare to the announcement of Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders’ retirement: pure shock. It’s the second time in less than 20 years that an all-time Lions great suddenly called it quits.

Banged up the last few seasons, Johnson said that he didn’t want to keep putting his body through the abuse of being an NFL player, and one can’t wonder if his team’s lack of success had a little to do with it too. The Detroit Lions only made the playoffs twice (losing both) in the nine seasons that Johnson played with the team.

The team could never fault Johnson for their lack of success. At only 30 years old, Johnson had 731 catches, 11,619 yards and 83 touchdowns. He set the single-season record for receiving yards (1964) in 2012. Johnson can be credited for starting the “fad” of the one-handed catch. While many young players are making the feat look incredible, Calvin Johnson made it look easy.

Illinois Hires Lovie Smith

After the 2012 season, Lovie Smith was fired from the Chicago Bears with a record of 84-66. Though Smith’s Bears had success early in his tenure with the team (going to the Super Bowl in 2007), they missed the playoff in five of Smith’s final six seasons with the team. Smith most recently, at the end of the 2015 season was fired from Tampa with a dismal 8-24 record. Lovie Smith built his resume as a college ball assistant at Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona State, Tulsa and Wisconsin. It could be college is a better fit for the 58 year old.

While coach Urban Meyer reigns as a media favorite with his national title, the Big Ten already has some star power of its own with head coach Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Illinois has been more of an “also ran” in media coverage in recent years. Illinois hopes to put an end to that and create some success with the addition of Smith.

NASCAR

It was almost a year since Brad Keselowski spent time in Victory Lane, but after a windy, rainy race in Vegas, Keselowski came out on top. He passed Kyle Busch with five laps to go on Sunday and raced to his second win in three years at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. After getting past teammate Joey Logano (who has been to Victory Lane five times since Keselowski’s last Sprint victory) and catching Busch, Keselowski drove his Ford to his first Sprint Cup win since Fontana nearly a year ago.

Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday at 3:44pm

Mike Yost

 

NASCAR SPRINT CUP

  1. Kyle Busch (18) 116
  2. Jimmie Johnson (48) 110
  3. Kevin Harvick (4) 109
  4. Joey Logano (22) 104
  5. Kurt Busch (41) 102
  6. Brad Keselowski (2) 98
  7. Carl Edwards (19) 96
  8. Denny Hamlin (11) 93
  9. Martin Truex Jr. (78) 90
  10. Austin Dillon(3) 90