Maybe the competitive side of Manning refuses to let him leave the game behind. Players, no matter how beaten or bandaged, always believe they have something to offer simply because of their presence. The Redskins and Dolphins weren’t very good last year but superstar players (upon joining such organizations) are always sure the team just needed them and the leadership they brought. Usually this doesn’t turn out to be the case, and the last thing the team needed was a battered, old player telling everyone how to do their job.
But here goes Peyton Manning, bright and funny with a future ahead as a broadcaster or executive or whatever he wants to be, opening himself up to a greater injury, to a worse post-football life, destroying something that most modern-day players are unable to claim: the fact he made one city his home.
Only vaguely related to the above, but the above is only one more guy's unasked-for opinion, so...this thing about "modern" players rarely playing for one team (or "city"). Are modern football players really less likely to play for one team than non-modern players (however you define it, presumably tied to free-agency era)? I remember Bill James or somebody pointing out long ago that "golden-era" baseball players didn't play for just one team any more, per capita, than "modern" (ie, free-agency era) players. The football version smacks of sentimentalizing the old days rather than actual thought-out fact too...but I didn't know if anyone's ever done a study or stat rundown or something.