As expected, Peyton Manning is quitting while he's a head. He's retiring from the NFL just a shade under 40 according to a report from the Denver Post. He steps away from the game after winning his second career Super Bowl. And with that his reign of the AFC West has finally come to an end.
In Manning's four seasons in Denver, the Broncos have won the AFC West every season and made the Super Bowl twice. The Raiders never beat the Broncos with him as the starter. They were only able to beat them late this season with Brock Osweiler starting at quarterback. The game in which Khalil Mack sacked Osweiler five times, including a strip sack for a safety.
Peyton finishes 186-79 for his career. He was the number one overall pick in the 1998 draft; the same draft in which the Raiders selected Charles Woodson, who also retired after last season. Woodson's final game was the Pro Bowl. His next stop will no doubt be sharing a stage with Peyton Manning as a first ballot Hall of Famer.
When you think about it, if you're the Raiders, was there a better time for Peyton to rule the division? During his time in Denver, the Raiders were deep into a complete tear down and rebuild.
Last season the Raiders saw the fruits of their rebuild finally start to grow. Their 7-9 record was the best since 2011 (8-8), before Manning entered the division.
The 7-time All Pro rides off into the sunset just as the sun is rising on the Raiders. They have young franchise foundation players in place such as Derek Carr, Khalil Mack, Rodney Hudson, Amari Cooper, and Gabe Jackson to name a few. And they have $74.5 million to spend in free agency to fill in the gaps.
With Peyton Manning's reign over the division now ended, It's a good time for the power shift in the AFC West to begin. The Raiders will play a large role in that.