Peyton Manning retires from NFL, closes with 'Omaha': 10 things to know
Peyton Manning retired from the NFL on Monday. Here's 10 things you need to know about the ceremony.
Well that's it. Peyton Manning is gone from football. Not gone gone. But he's done playing football forever, barring a stunning change.
Manning announced his retirement from the Broncos facility, with John Elway and Gary Kubiak speaking before, a video tribute to Manning playing and then No. 18 himself giving a pre-written address before taking questions from the media.
Hopefully anyone who ever got to watch Manning play also got to watch the press conference. The former Colts/Broncos star and future first-ballot Hall of Famer put on a well-prepared show for everyone, which wasn't unlike his playing career in the NFL.
Here's 10 things to know about Manning's retirement ceremony on Monday.
1. What a speech: Everyone loves to jump about the Peyton Manning bandwagon and talk about what a great guy he is and what a great public speaker he is and yada, yada, yada. But the reality is Manning is a great public speaker.
The retirement speech he gave on Monday afternoon was outstanding. It was well-planned, clearly researched, thoughtful and it managed to thank every notable person he came in contact with over an 18-year career.
2. Making everyone else's job easy: Manning is obviously famous for raising the level of play for other people, but John Elway gave him credit for making a GM/president's job easy too.
“You look at what we’ve done the last four years, and a lot of that is attributable to this guy. Because he made my job easy," Elway said. "When I’d say to free agents, ‘Mr. Bowlen wants to win a championship and you get to play with Peyton Manning,’ they’d say, ‘Where do I sign?'”
"They knew if he was on their team, they'd have a chance to win a world championship."
Ironically it was those teammates who carried Manning to his second title.
3. Revolutionizing the game: You don't think about a pocket quarterback changing the way football is played. But Elway correctly pointed out how Manning changed the way quarterbacks operate in modern football, thanks to his audibles at the line of scrimmage.
"Peyton Manning revolutionized the game. Peyton said, we’re going to get to the line of scrimmage, we’re going to figure out what you’re doing and we’re going to pick you apart," Elway said. "What he was able to do pre-snap -- he was a guy, every athlete should look at Peyton Manning … Peyton Manning utilized every asset God gave him to be the best football player he can be. He got every ounce of ability that he has."
And I've been saying it for a few weeks now but it's true: Manning created an entire generation of quarterbacks, whether they be in the NFL now, still in college, whatever.
Young people who wanted to play quarterback grew up watching Manning. He is the formative figure for literally thousands (millions?) of people who played football.
4. The comeback trail: Gary Kubiak told a long, quasi-rambling story about Peyton's return from his foot injury (he broke the passing-yards record against the Chiefs and was promptly injured/benched). It was kind of winding down with way too many details about Peyton being separate from the rest of the team (at his own request to avoid distractions) and being filmed in the practice bubble.
Then Kubes dropped the news about Peyton firing off the bird to the boss man.
"He sent me a signal. Hey we’re No. 1. You can take it that way," Kubiak said.
The Broncos coach added he texted Manning after, saying "The workout looked great by the way and, oh by the way, I got the signal."
And that's how Manning worked his way back into the starting lineup.
Manning for his part said he would neither "confirm nor deny" whether or not he shot Kubiak the bird (read: he did) and called it a "frustrating time."
5. Strong memories: The very first part of Peyton's speech was about his very first game. And how many Hall of Famers were involved.
He handed off to Marshall Faulk (in Canton), threw a pass to Marvin Harrison (going in Canton this year) and went up against one of the all-time great quarterbacks in Dan Marino (in Canton a long time ago).
He also specifically cited a Dan Marino’s third-down conversion on a skinny post he remembered: “Damnedest throw I’ve ever seen."
6. Lucky number: Manning got real emotional talking about his conversations with former Colts great Johnny Unitas and how he hopes No. 19 is looking down with his flat top and his black shoes with approval.
Manning additionally pointed out No. 18 is a "good number" for him.
"There’s just something about 18 years. Eighteen years is a good number," Manning said. "Today I retire from pro football."
7. All those picks: Manning joked (again) about the unfortunate record he holds, most interceptions in a season for a rookie.
"Every year I root for a rookie quarterback to break that record," Manning said.
8. Patriots love: It's become quite obvious the amount of affection and appreciation that exists between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady with the quotes and interactions coming from the two sides in recent weeks.
Manning doubled down on it during his press conference, referencing Brady specifically when talking about people he played with and against during his press conference.
"I’ll miss that handshake with Tom Brady," Manning said.
He even threw some love to Patriots fans by making fun of himself!
"I’ll even miss the Patriots fans in Foxborough ... and they should miss me," Manning joked. "They got a lot of wins off of me."
9. Tennessee allegations: Peyton was asked about the incident with the University of Tennessee from nearly 20 years ago (good on Lindsey Jones for asking the question).
"First off this is a joyous day and nothing can overtake from this day. I think it is sad some people don’t understand the truth and the facts," Manning said. "I did not do what has been alleged. I’m not interested in re-litigating something that happened when I was 19 years old. I can’t say it any plainer than that.
"Like Forrest Gump said, 'That's all I have to say about that.'"
Peyton denies Tennessee allegations, quotes Forrest Gump pic.twitter.com/Q2f9zBLIo7— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) March 7, 2016
10. Closing words: Manning thanked a lot of people -- like a lot -- but it really stood out both how he closed his speech and how he closed his Q&A session.
To wrap-up his talk, Manning said, "God bless all of you and God bless football."
And to close the question-and-answer segment, just a single word:
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