Few coaches know Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning as intimately as new Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen. Manning spent 10 seasons in Indianapolis with Christensen, including a Super Bowl win during the 2006 season when Christensen was offensive coordinator and receivers coach.
So it's worth noting that Christensen is one of the few people who do not believe Sunday's Super Bowl 50 against the Carolina Panthers will be Manning's "last rodeo."
“Knowing him pretty darn well, I wouldn’t count on that,” Christensen said of Manning retiring. “I don’t know many people who enjoy their job as much as him. There have probably been several chances and who knows? But I sure wouldn’t count on that. The guy has kind of amazed that way so I’m not buying it quite yet. I’m not buying it. I know how much he loves doing what he does.
“He sometimes forgets and still gives me projects and forgets that he has a coach there. I still get a glimpse of how much this guy enjoys football like he does, enjoys the quarterback position like he does and I wouldn’t count on him bowing out too early.”
The 39-year-old Manning has seen his health and physical ability diminish in recent years, and most believe he will try to go out on top this weekend before calling it quits. The Broncos are no longer led by Manning’s arm. Their defense got the team to the Super Bowl and Manning uncharacteristically has a reduced role that involves playing it safe on offense and trying to score just enough points for the defense to hold the lead.
Regardless of Manning’s future beyond this game, Christensen is happy that Manning is playing in his fourth -- and perhaps final -- Super Bowl on Sunday.
“I’m thrilled. I really couldn’t be more excited, at the risk of being corny,” Christensen said. “Like I told him, the last playoff game against New England and one thing I do share with this city is a lack of affection for New England through the years, but [I] just had a knot in my stomach. It wasn’t like the offseason, I just wanted him to win that game, so just was thrilled.”
Christensen will see a lot of the Patriots over the next few seasons as Miami’s offensive coordinator. That is the team the Dolphins must try to topple if they want to win the AFC East.