Peyton Manning-Tribute

Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976) is a former American football quarterback who played 18 seasons in the National Football League (NFL), primarily with the Indianapolis Colts. Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time due to his numerous career achievements, he spent 14 seasons with the Colts and was a member of the Denver Broncos in his last four seasons. Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee, leading the Tennessee Volunteers to the 1997 SEC Championship in his senior season. He is the second son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and older brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.

Manning was selected by the Colts as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. From 1998 to 2010, he improved the fortunes of the struggling Colts franchise and helped transform them into consistent playoff contenders. During his tenure as starting quarterback, Manning led the team to eight division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl title, the franchise’s first in over three decades, as well as their first since relocating to Indianapolis.

After undergoing neck surgery that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season, Manning was released by the Colts and signed with the Broncos. Serving as the team’s starting quarterback from 2012 to 2015, he contributed to the Broncos reaching the top of their division each year and his playing career concluded with a victory in Super Bowl 50.

Manning holds many NFL records, including passing yards (71,940), touchdown passes (539), AP MVP awards(5), Pro Bowl appearances (14), 4,000-yard passing seasons (14), single-season passing yards (5,477 in 2013) and single-season passing touchdowns (55 in 2013). A two-time Super Bowl winner and the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, Manning is also the only quarterback to start the Super Bowl for two different franchises more than once each, with different coaches at each Super Bowl start (Dungy, Caldwell, Fox, Kubiak), and the only starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl with two different franchises. At 39 years of age, Manning was the oldest quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl, a feat matched the following year by Tom Brady.

During a 2009 Monday Night Football game, Manning received the nickname “The Sheriff” from color commentator Jon Gruden due to his tendency to audible prior to the snap, and he was one of the most recognizable and parodied players in the NFL. Teams led by Manning typically utilized the hurry-up offense in place of the standard huddle.

Manning attended Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, Louisiana, and led their football team to a 34–5 record during his three seasons as the starter. He was named Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player-of-the-Year and Columbus (Ohio) Touchdown Club National Offensive Player-of-the-Year in 1993. While at Newman, he began wearing the #18 jersey in honor of his older brother Cooper, who was forced to give up football due to spinal stenosis. Younger brother Eli also wore the number when he became starting quarterback. Newman has since retired the #18 jersey and it can be seen hanging in the school gym. Manning was among the most sought after high school players in the country and was recruited by about 60 colleges, led by Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, and his father’s alma mater, Ole Miss.

College career

Manning chose to play college football for the University of Tennessee Volunteers under head coach Phillip Fulmer. Many fans were surprised that he did not pick the Ole Miss Rebels, for whom his father Archie played, and Peyton’s parents received several angry phone calls and letters. He became Tennessee’s all-time leading passer with 11,201 yards and 89 touchdowns and won 39 of 45 games as a starter, breaking the Southeastern Conference (SEC) record for career wins.

1994 season

As a freshman, Manning began the season as the third-string quarterback. In the season opener against UCLA, Manning was one of three quarterbacks to come off the bench after starter Jerry Colquitt suffered a season-ending injury on the seventh play of the game. However, Manning was not able to generate any offense and was pulled from the game. During the season’s fourth game, against Mississippi State, starter Todd Helton got injured and Manning took over. The Vols lost 24–21, but Manning was named the team’s starter and remained so for the rest of his college career. In his first start, the following week against Washington State, the Vols won 10–9. They won all but one of their remaining games, finishing the season 8–4 with a 45–23 victory over Virginia Tech in the 1994 Gator Bowl.

1995 season

Manning and the Vols started off the 1995 season with victories over East Carolina and SEC rival Georgia, before heading off to Gainesville to face off against the rival Gators. Against Florida, he threw for 326 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Vols to a 30–21 halftime lead. However, the Gators outscored the Vols 41–7 in the second half, winning 62–37. This was the Vols’ only loss of the season, as they won their remaining eight regular season games, including a 41–14 win over rival Alabama and then defeated Ohio State by a score of 20–14 in the Citrus Bowl. The Vols ended the season ranked third and Manning came in sixth in Heisman Trophy voting.

1996 season

The Vols opened the 1996 season ranked #2 behind Nebraska and one of the favorites to win the National Championship.However, after winning their first two games against UNLV and UCLA, the Vols again lost to Florida by a score of 35–29, with Manning throwing four interceptions. After winning their next four games, the Vols were upset by Memphis, despite Manning passing for 296 yards. The Vols won the remainder of their games, including a 48–28 win in the Citrus Bowl over Northwestern, a game in which Manning passed for 408 yards and four touchdowns; he was named the game’s MVP. His 243 pass completions and 63.9% completion percentage led the SEC that year. In the 1996 season, Manning finished in eighth place in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Manning completed his degree in three years, a Bachelor of Arts in speech communication, and was projected to be the top overall pick in the NFL Draft, but returned to Tennessee for his senior year.

1997 season

In his senior season, the Vols opened the season with victories against Texas Tech and UCLA, but for the third time in his career, Manning fell to Florida 33–20.The Vols won the rest of their regular season games, finishing 10–1, and advanced to the SEC Championship game against Auburn. Down 20–7 in the second quarter, Manning led the Vols to a 30–29 comeback victory. Throwing for four touchdowns, he was named the game’s MVP, but injured himself in the process. The #3 Vols were matched-up with #2 Nebraska in the Orange Bowl; if Tennessee won and top-ranked Michigan lost to Washington State in the Rose Bowl, the Vols would have won the national championship. However, the Vols’ defense could not stop Nebraska’s rushing attack, giving up over 400 rushing yards in a 42–17 loss. As a senior, Manning won numerous awards; he was a consensus first-team All-American, the Maxwell Award winner, the Davey O’Brien Award winner, the Johnny Unitas Award winner, and the Best College Player ESPY award winner, among others. He finished as the runner-up to Charles Woodson in the 1997 Heisman Trophy voting. In 2005, Tennessee retired Manning’s number (No. 16). One of the streets leading to Neyland Stadium has been renamed Peyton Manning Pass. While at the University of Tennessee, Manning excelled academically and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa Society in 1997 and awarded the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Award.

Sexual harassment allegation

In 1996, while attending the University of Tennessee, Manning was accused of sexual harassment by female trainer Jamie Ann Naughright after he exposed his buttocks during a foot examination. Manning said that he was just pulling a prank by “mooning” another athlete in the room as Naughright bent over to examine him. Naughright settled with the university for $300,000 and resigned from the school.

Post-collegiate honors

Manning was inducted into the Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. He was also named the 2016 Tennessean of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Manning was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2017, his first year of eligibility for the honor, and was inducted during a ceremony in December. He will join his father Archie in the hall, making them the first father and son duo to both be inducted as players.