Former Colts and Broncos ace Peyton Manning is hoping to get elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. It’s his first year of eligibility , many see him as a shoe in to get the nod to Canton. Here’s why.
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Son of former NFL Quarterback Peyton, and his brother Eli, were primed for a career in football from a young age. Dad, Archie, was the 2nd overall pick in the 1971 draft. Archie Manning played 13 seasons in the NFL for the Saints, Oilers and Vikings. Brother Eli, 1st overall pick in the 2004 draft, played his entire career at the Giants, picking up two infamous Super Bowl victories along the way.
Peyton was selected 1st overall by the Colts in 1998 after a stellar college career; 4 years at Tennessee, throwing for over 11,000 yards with 89 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. He came 2nd in the Heisman trophy aware to fellow Hall of Fame Nominee Charles Woodson in 1997.
Manning the Colt
Most teams that have the number 1 pick, aren’t very good, hence how they get the pick. That was true for the Colts when drafting Manning. The Colts went 3-13 in Payton’s first season, with him leading the league with 28 interceptions.
They soon turned it around. In 1999, Manning’s second year, the Colts went 13-3. Losing to the Titans in the Divisional round. That was the first of Peyton’s 14 seasons with over 4,000 yards. A record he holds to this day. 1999 was also his first of 14 Pro Bowl selections. Talking about records: Manning is tied 1st with Tony Gonzalez, Tom Brady, Merlin Olsen and Bruce Matthews on 14 Pro Bowl selections.
The Colts fell to the Dolphins in 2000, the first season (of three in total) that Manning lead the league with 4413 passing yards. Then failed to make the playoffs in 2001. Following that, with Manning at the helm, the Colts made the playoffs in 9 consecutive seasons 2002-2010.
Manning lead the Colts to the Superbowl twice. First to Miami where the Colts beat the Rex Grossman lead Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Returning to Miami for Superbowl XLIV, the Colts fell to Drew Brees and the Saints 31-17.
A back injury kept Manning out of the 2011 season and the Colts went 2-14. Leaving them, again, with the first overall pick and, again, with a marquee quarterback to be picked 1st. This time Andrew Luck. The Colts retired Manning’s number 18 jersey upon cutting Manning. He left Indianapolis with a Super Bowl ring, 4 MVP awards, 5 All Pro and 11 Pro Bowl seasons. Peyton Manning is the all time leader for the Colts for both yards (54,828) and touchdowns (399).
Manning the Bronco
Manning headed west to Denver to join John Fox and the Broncos. Flying out of the blocks the Broncos went 13-3 in 2012, with the leagues 2nd highest rated offence (30.1 points per game) and 4th defence (18.1 points per game). Manning earned himself another All Pro selection.
Peyton’s second year in Denver was a record breaker; 5477 yards and 55 touchdowns, both of which are NFL records. Add on one more MVP award, the 7th of his All Pro selections on a 13-3 Season. The Broncos made it to the Super Bowl but famously flopped, losing 8-43 to the Seattle Seahawks in New Jersey.
Despite missing 6 games through injury Manning lead the Broncos to another Super Bowl, following the 2015 season. In what turned out to be a swan song for Peyton the Broncos waltzed over the Panthers, winning Super Bowl 50 24-10.
First Ballot Hall of Famer
It can be difficult to get in the Hall of Fame at the first time of asking. It really shouldn’t be for Peyton. His accomplishments are literally unmatched, and probably never will be. The only player to win MVP 5 times and the only quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two teams.
Enjoy your time in Canton Payton, you deserve it.