DENVER, Colo. -- When Peyton Manning found New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick at midfield after the Denver Broncos 20-18 win in the AFC Championship Sunday, it may have been for the last time.
Manning hugged Belichick, and NFL Films' cameras captured what was said:
"Hey, listen, this might my last rodeo. So, it sure has been a pleasure," Manning said.
Belichick's reply could not be heard, and at his press conference Monday, he declined to discuss anything about the discussion.
"Don't have anything to share," Belichick said Monday. "I shared it with Peyton."
— ARD (@ARDFootball) January 26, 2016
It was the 20th time Manning faced Belichick and just the 8th time he beat the coach, but did improve his playoff record to 3-2 against him.
Even so, Manning has said he wouldn't make a decision about 2016 until the season is over. It just so happens Manning's season will end in storybook fashion with the biggest game of the year at Super Bowl 50 against the NFC Champion Carolina Panthers.
Depending on the outcome of what will likely be the most-watched TV event in history, Manning would have a big choice to make. He could ride off into the sunset on top of the football world to cap a Hall of Fame career among the best ever, or even with a loss, Manning could still hold his head high knowing he overcame the adversity of his health to get to the biggest stage in sports for the fourth time, retiring with his legacy in tact. The flip side would be Manning's competitive spirit getting the best of him, and win or loss, he returns to a big question mark that might be a last season at 40 years old.
Dave Furst took questions Live on Facebook Monday night about Peyton and the likelihood of his retirement. You can watch that in the video player above.