This weekend in Indianapolis, the Colts will honor Peyton Manning with a bronze statue of his likeness.
Manning spent 14 seasons with the Colts, carrying the entire franchise on his back.
“I’m not 100% comfortable with this statue unveiling”, the future Hall-of-Famer said in a recent interview. “I’m just not quite sure how to get your arms around that, although I am incredibly grateful for the gesture.”
This is coming from a guy with two Super Bowl wins (one in Indianapolis), five MVP awards, and is the NFL’s all-time leader in passing touchdowns and yards.
His psyche matched the ethos of the Midwestern city — hard work and intelligence, wrapped around self-deprecation. No time to take credit. Whenever anyone would offer praise to Peyton Manning, he always seemed to respond with an “oh, shucks” attitude. Whether he really was genuine or not, he always seemed to deflect the praise to teammates, coaches, or trainers.
It was Manning’s personality that that truly made him king of Indianapolis.
In the early 2000s, reports suggest that the Colts were very close to relocating from Indianapolis to Los Angeles. If Manning was never a Colt, a very good argument can be made that the team would be in LA today. Without Peyton Manning, there’s no way in hell that the city of Indianapolis would have hosted a Super Bowl. He turned the Colts into one of the most successful teams in the league for a decade – making Indianapolis residents open to the idea of helping to fund Lucas Oil Stadium. That ultimately led Indianapolis the opportunity to host one of the most popular sporting events in the world.
Most important of all, Manning has been one of the most philanthropic leaders in the history of Indianapolis. The Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital is considered one of the best of its kind – with over 40 different Pediatric services and clinics in house.
In an NFL today full of national anthem kneelers, looking back on Peyton Manning’s career makes me appreciate him even more. The man completely changed the city of Indianapolis forever