Though this should surprise absolutely nobody, Peyton Manning is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The announcement came on Saturday night as part of the annual NFL Honors awards show. Manning, a first-ballot choice, becomes the ninth member of the team to get into the Hall of Fame, joining John Elway, Gary Zimmerman, Terrell Davis, Floyd Little, Shannon Sharpe, Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen and Steve Atwater, who was selected as part of last year’s class.
Manning may be the biggest no-doubter on the list though in terms of credentials needed to get in. Being a first-ballot Hall of Famer is no easy feat, most players wait quite awhile after their playing careers have ended to get the nod.
For Manning, it was clear he would be in on the first ballot the moment he announced his retirement.
Manning is easily on a short list of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the league. His time in Denver, though short, was quite memorable.
The Broncos were able to sign him as a free agent ahead of the 2012 season. In each of the next four seasons, Manning took the Broncos to the playoffs in all four seasons and to the Super Bowl twice, winning Super Bowl 50.
During those four years, the Broncos had a 50-14 regular-season record. The numbers Manning posted were like a video game, particularly during the 2013 season when he set single-season records of 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yards through the air, records that still stand today.
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Manning was like a surgeon on the field and for Broncos fans, it was an absolute treat to have him around. Those fans were a bit spoiled as well since the team has not had quarterback play anywhere even close to that since.
Like Elway, Manning was able to ride off into retirement following a Super Bowl victory.
It’s hard to imagine that it has been already five seasons since Manning was on the field, but now his football career comes to the proper close.
It’s the one his family knew he’d have from the time he could talk. It’s the one that those at the University of Tennessee foresaw the day he arrived on campus. It’s the same one he so impressively carved out in Indianapolis and it’s the same one Broncos fans were treated to from the day he signed his first contract to come to the Mile High City.
Congrats, Peyton, on all of your career accomplishments. Very few players who have ever played the game of football have deserved this honor more.