Could that career parallel continue with Manning playing the role of general manager for a needy NFL team?
"I believe he could very quickly fill the role that John Elway fills with the Broncos," Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian told SiriusXM NFL Radio, per coachingsearch.com. "The reason I say that is, during our 14 years together in Indianapolis, he would often discuss with me prospects coming out in the draft, SEC players he'd seen, players he'd seen in other parts of the country. He pays close attention to the rosters of the other players in the league, with specific attention to the AFC."
Said Polian: "He knew the strengths and weaknesses of every player on every defense in the AFC and many on offense, because he met them and got to know them at the Pro Bowl and soaked up information. He is a football nerd, as am I. He's more than prepared to do that job."
Elway toiled in the shadows as CEO of the Colorado Crush from 2003 to 2008, but Polian doesn't believe Manning would need that kind of slow-cooked training before taking over an NFL club.
"All he would need would be a brief tutorial on the league rules and things like the general terms of trades and contract language -- of which he's also very familiar, because of his own contract," Polian said. "He's well-prepared to do that. He could step right from the playing field into a role like that, because he's ready. I don't know that he will, but if someone wanted him to do it, he would be ready immediately to do it."
Two teams whispered about are the Tennessee Titans and Cleveland Browns. Manning's ties to the Tennessee region date back to his college days, while Browns owner Jimmy Haslam -- a fellow Volunteer -- has been close friends with Peyton for years.
Both teams have leaders intact, though, while Manning has yet to decide on his playing future. If he bows out, we fully expect to see this "football nerd" running an NFL team before long.