“I’m very grateful for this opportunity and to be playing with a group of special guys.”
Manning, 39, finished 13 for 23 for 141 yards in the Broncos’ 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Sunday’s Super Bowl game at California’s Levi’s Stadium.
The veteran quarterback said he had yet to go to sleep after his team’s victory but is planning to take time away from the game before he makes a decision on returning to the NFL.
“I got some good advice from my old coach Tony Dungy. He told me just to take some time after this game and not make an emotional decision,” Manning said, referring to his former Indianapolis Colts coach. “There’s been a lot of emotion these past two weeks and certainly in the Super Bowl, so to take some time and to get away and kind of reflect on what’s happened this season and maybe a few other things.”
Manning told “GMA” he would also pray about the decision and talk with his wife, Ashley, with whom he also celebrated his Super Bowl win, along with the couple’s two young kids.
“I’ve been fortunate to be on a Super Bowl team before and I remember how special that was, almost 10 years ago, and it was just as special tonight,” he said. “It’s even better when you can celebrate with your family and your friends and I’ve been doing that tonight.”
Manning and Broncos co-captain DeMarcus Ware each delivered a speech to their teammates beforehand that seemed to ignite a fire in the players, though both players said the real work was done in the weeks and months before the game.
“I think the game is won with your preparation during the course of the season and during the course of these past two weeks and then going out and executing,” Manning said. “DeMarcus has been a great teammate to be a co-captain with on this team. He’s been playing a long time. I’m happy for him getting his first Super Bowl.”
Ware called Manning the “leader” of the Broncos team.
“I mean, we call him the sheriff. That’s what he does,” Ware said today on “GMA.” "It’s just great to be part of this part of history in my career but also, as a team, and everybody just loves him [Manning] for that."
The defensive star also echoed Manning’s claim that preparation was the key to the Broncos victory.
“I think a lot of teams that went in intimidated and we weren’t that way,” Ware said of facing the Panthers. “We had two weeks to prepare and it just felt really good that our preparation, you could see that on a lot of those trick plays and everything that they did, they really helped out that week.”