Mail-it-in Friday: Is Peyton or Kobe having a worse end to his career?

Getting old is a bummer.

Our favorite sports stars can’t last forever, as hard as that is for us to accept sometimes. And two of the best to ever put on a uniform — Kobe Bryant and Peyton Manning — are seeing their playing days come to a close. Bryant has already announced that this season would be his last. Manning hasn’t said anything about his future, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll play past the 2016 season — in a best-case scenario.

And while it would be nice to see both future Hall of Famers age like a fine wine, that hasn’t been the case. In fact, watching Kobe and Peyton play this year has been … well, it’s been like this:

It’s true. Kobe can’t get much lift with his damaged legs but he’s determined to shoot his way out of it, even if he goes 1-for-20 from the field. Peyton was busy throwing ducks that were getting picked off left and right before a battery of injuries at least temporarily shelved him.

So, it begs the question: Which legend is having a worse twilight to his career?

Full disclosure: I’m an unabashed fan of both men. I grew up in SoCal and have been a Lakers fan for as long as I can remember. And I’ve always admired Peyton’s prowess in the pocket and have been entertained by his commercials and stint hosting "Saturday Night Live."

So, I’m going to recuse myself from picking one. So, like a coward, I’m going to let you dear readers do the hard work and make the call.

THE REMEDIAL STUDENTS

Here are the people who made a choice, but refused to give a reason:

Sigh. Seriously, that sucks. If this was a math test, you’d all get a D because you didn’t show your work.

THOSE WHO SAY PEYTON

That was a common thread among the people who say Peyton is looking worse. And I’ve got to correct a popular misconception.

Manning wasn’t benched, he got hurt. Now, it seems convenient that his injuries popped up after a game that saw him throw four interceptions in a loss, but as far as we know, that’s what the truth is.

Yes, Brock Osweiler has stepped in and performed admirably in Peyton’s absence. Yes, Brock is much younger and has a stronger arm than what Manning can offer in his advanced age, but that doesn’t change anything.

Just because there are rumors that Osweiler has won the permanent starting quarterback job, recognize them for what they are: just rumors.

In fact, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said as much this week:

“Listen, like I told you guys before, we’re totally committed to getting our quarterback — getting Peyton healthy and getting him back. Nothing has changed. Nothing has changed with where we’re headed this week. Brock is our starter this week, and we’re all-in getting ready for San Diego. We are week-to-week and doing everything we can to win the next football game. Absolutely nothing has changed.”

So, there you go. However, NFL coaches are notorious for saying one thing and doing another, so …

THOSE WHO SAY KOBE

I really can’t argue with any of the above.

Yes, it’s true that Kobe has been jacking up shots at an alarming rate. Yes, it’s true that the Lakers are very young and inexperienced.

However, I don’t understand the fascination that everyone has about this. Seriously, did anyone out there expect the Lakers to contend for a playoff spot this year?

If you did, then here:

You deserve that.

The only thing I care about as a Lakers fan is to see players like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle get some valuable experience while still finishing with a bad enough record to get a top-three pick in the next NBA Draft.

If Kobe Bryant wants to put on a traveling gong show in his last season in the league and puts butts in the seats for the team while he’s at it, he’s free to do so. In fact, his jacking up 50 shots a game will almost guarantee the Lakers score big in the draft lottery.

THOSE WHO ACTED THE FOOL

Of course, there are people in every mailbag who refuse to take the question seriously and come in with answers of their own.

Becky,

A fence-rider, eh? Be gone with you! I’m the only here who is allowed to not take a stance.

Jennifer,

Oh yeah? Well … YOU’RE MEAN!!!

I just dunked on you! How do you like that, huh?!!

Wait, maybe Jennifer has a point.

Trapalap,

I’m a bully now? What’s going on here? I’m just a man asking a question. I’ve got nothing but love to give, scout’s honor.

(Full disclosure: I was never a scout. I wouldn’t survive two nights in the outdoors.)

Debbie,

That’s true, I am all about that upside. However, we’re dealing with two guys on the downside of their careers.

See what I did there? Upside vs. Downside? You can’t teach that kind of creativity, Debbie.

AEWHITE,

Dude, we’re not trying to be. I think it just comes naturally to us. Myself especially.

Tim-may!!,

Do you really love lamp … or are you just saying you love it because you’re looking at one right now?

Oliver,

Man, if you think I’m going to open that can of worms … you’re absolutely right.

Tiger is a different case because even though, like Kobe and Peyton, his body is betraying him, you could make the argument that most of what ails him is mental.

The man has been healthy enough to play in a few majors since "The Incident" and has even been among the leaders at times, but he doesn’t have the intimidation factor of years past.

And nobody on the tour is afraid of him anymore. It’s really sad, actually. More so than Kobe or Peyton.

Kim,

Kim, you found the perfect way to end the mailbag for this week. Kobe might be shooting too much and Peyton’s body is letting him down at every turn.

But let’s not forget: At the end of the day, both men are absurdly rich.

Man, that must feel good. OK, I think we’ve done enough for this week. See you next time!