Peyton Manning Honors Utah Girl With a Personal Gift


As a resident of Utah, I grew up watching and loving the Denver Broncos as on KUTV-Channel 2 (currently the CBS affiliate in Salt Lake City) I would rush home from Church and see the Broncos pull out magnificent victory after magnificent victory.

For you youngsters out there, this was in the Dan Reeves era and then-quarterback John Elway would lead improbable comebacks and leave us wanting more as we watched on our rabbit-ears television. That thing was classic!

Anyway, for generations, Salt Lake City has been an adept adjoining market to Denver Broncos football and those younger than me are ardent fans of the orange and blue as well.

In this vein of thought, 13-year-old Gracie Merrill of West Jordan, Utah ( a southwestern suburb of Salt Lake City), herself a Broncos fan, had the dream of her life brought to pass.

Merrill, who was featured on the ESPN hard sports news journalism show Outside the Lines in September, is a member of the Utah Girls Tackle Football League, believed to be the first all-girls tackle football league in the United States.

Oddly enough, Broncos signal-caller Peyton Manning, long known for his generous acts to his legions of fans throughout the country, was watching the program and noticed Merrill was wearing an orange #18 Denver Broncos jersey while she expressed her love for football.

Merrill’s father, Scott, linked a video of this OTL segment to a Broncos fans Facebook page in hopes that it would catch the attention of the team.

Anyway, shortly thereafter, Merrill received an autographed picture of the 5-time NFL-MVP, including a note that expressed Manning’s gratitude that the teenager was wearing her jersey.

This is a great moment for all we Utah-based Broncos reporters and the fans among us as well. Utah will never have its own NFL team in all likelihood but that’s OK. We are propitiously married to the Denver Broncos and no annulments of the gridiron marriage are in sight.

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