I don't really like to get into the weeds about who is the greatest quarterback of the century/decade/generation/whatever time frame you want. It's just too subjective. And even for NFL quarterbacks, a position that can make or break an entire team unlike no other, there is still all the stuff around them that factors into how they play.
That said, it's pretty safe to say, even in the subjective ratings of all-time greats, that Peyton Manning is one of the best EVER to play the game. Whether you put him first or second or third (if you're a Patriots fan) on the list, doesn't matter.
It's still hard to process. Not Manning's retirement, but just the fact that he won't be there on Sundays in the fall anymore. You get used to that, and even last season, when he wasn't hurt and riding the bench, you took some comfort in knowing that Manning was at least there, still in the game in some way.
I'm not overlooking the scandals in his past, either the incident at Tennessee or the HGH allegations, both of which are shrouded in some degree of mystery and accusation. The truth is hard to know in either case, and even if something or someone came along to absolve him, those two things will always be with him now, and bringing up those things from his past is fair game, too. We're long past the era where we our national consciousness can support unblemished heroes, because such a person doesn't exist.
Today, we officially begin the process of saying farewell and writing the story without one its greatest characters. It's something we have to do so that we can build new legends and make room for new greats.
WATCH HIM SAY GOODBYE: Peyton Manning's retirement press conference is today at 1 p.m. ET. Grab a tissue, there won't be a dry eye in the house. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, related to Peyton Manning's retirement can be found here.
WEIRD STATS: The weirdest stats from Peyton Manning's incredible career. What Peyton Manning did on fourth downs was nothing short of amazing.
RECORDS: Here's a list of every major NFL record Peyton Manning holds. These accomplishments are beyond comprehension.
WHAT IF ... The Colts may have been better off keeping Peyton Manning. Turn back the clock four years to 2012.
TO THE BOOTH? Television is another option for newly retired Manning. If only he could replace Phil Simms ...
2016 WAS NEVER REALLY AN OPTION: Nobody really wanted Peyton Manning to be their QB in 2016. Well, except the Los Angeles Rams, according to Peter King, but why would a legend like Manning want to end his career with a season under Jeff Fisher?
MOCK DRAFT MONDAY: 2016 NFL mock draft: How free agency could change things. With veterans on the move this week, we'll continue finding clarity in this year's draft.
STRONG MEN: The bench press kings of the NFL Draft are at Arizona State. Christian Westerman led all NFL Combine participants in the bench press before his teammate, Vi Teofilo, crushed his mark on Friday.
ILLEGAL QUESTIONS: Falcons may have asked multiple players inappropriate questions at the Combine. The Falcons are under league scrutiny for asking draft prospects questions they weren't supposed to ask.
FREE AGENCY IS ALMOST HERE!
TAMPERING: The "legal tampering period" is here! The NFL's legal negotiation window opens today.
WHAT ABOUT BROCK? It is "far from a certainty" that Brock Osweiler re-signs with the Broncos. Sounds like the Broncos will be facing some competition for Osweiler. One team planning to call his agent this week is the Houston Texans.
PATRIOTS SAFETY: Eric Weddle wants to play for the Patriots. Chargers free agent safety Eric Weddle has his eyes set on one team: the New England Patriots.
NFC EAST QBs: Washington feared Eagles would try to get Kirk Cousins, per report. Philly signed Sam Bradford a day after Washington tagged Cousins. Coincidence?
COWBOYS NEED PASS RUSHERS: The Cowboys are interested in a lot of free agent pass rushers. Of course they are.
MARIO'S TOUR: Mario Williams visiting Giants Sunday night, Monday. He's also on the radar for the Cowboys, Jaguars, Dolphins and probably a few other teams.
MAKE THE PATRIOTS GREAT AGAIN: Bill Belichick and his girlfriend had dinner with good friend Donald Trump. First it was Tom Brady in Trump's camp and now it's Belichick?
FALLING FALCONS: Kyle Shanahan ruins everything. For years the Falcons had one of the best passing games in the league. And then Kyle Shanahan got a hold of it ... or at least that's the story according to Roddy White.
RAMS RUNNER ARRESTED: Rams RB Tre Mason arrested for reckless driving, three other charges.