Some notable names who walked away as winners
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) If the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl on Sunday, 39-year-old Peyton Manning will have a chance to join some very select company.
In the 50-year history of the Super Bowl, John Elway is the only quarterback to win the title, then announce his retirement. A list of some athletes who have hung it up after a history making season.
Jerome Bettis - ''The Bus'' was a bit player for the Steelers by the time his final year rolled around in 2005. After winning the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit, he stood atop the podium with the Lombardi Trophy and pronounced: ''I'm a champion, and I think the Bus's last stop is here in Detroit.''
Ray Bourque - Bourque was a mainstay defenseman for the Boston Bruins for 21 seasons, and a favorite of Boston fans because of his loyalty to the club and his willingness to stick with Boston despite never hoisting a Stanley Cup there. At the end of his career, the Bruins dealt Bourque to Colorado, and it was there that he finally won the Cup, in 2001. He brought it to Boston for a celebration, and retired shortly after.
Joe DiMaggio - At 37, DiMaggio only batted .263 in 1951 - more than 50 points off his career average. He knew it was time to go. But it was a nice send-off. The Yankees beat the Giants 4-3 in Game 6 of the World Series to capture the title, and that was Joltin' Joe's last game.
John Elway - Won his first Super Bowl in his second-to-last year after three trips that all resulted in lopsided losses. The next season, he led the Broncos back and won it all. Retired a few weeks later. ''It wouldn't have been up to my standards of how I wanted to play,'' he recalled this week.
Eric Heiden - The speedskater won a record five individual gold medals in the 1980 Lake Placid Games but didn't come back after that. Instead, he turned to cycling, where he competed in the Tour de France in 1986.
Tony LaRussa - One of the best managers in history led the Cardinals to a victory over the Rangers in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series, then walked away.
David Robinson - Nobody will mistake David Robinson's last year as his best. His last game? That's a different story. By 2003, Robinson was taking second billing to Tim Duncan with the Spurs. But The Admiral's last game was a 13-point, 17-rebound performance that helped San Antonio clinch the title against the Nets. ''My last game, streamers flying, world champions. How can you write a better script than this?'' Robinson said.
Pete Sampras - Came into the 2002 U.S. Open seeded 17th and not at his best. Then, won all seven matches, capping it with a victory in the final over Andre Agassi for his 14th Grand Slam tournament victory, a record at the time. Didn't play again, but waited a year to announce his retirement at a ceremony at Flushing Meadows.
Michael Strahan - The defensive lineman played 15 years with the New York Giants. A few months after they upset the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, he retired. ''At some point,'' he said, ''you have to realize that you've done all you can do, all you need to do.''