Former NFL official recounts how Peyton Manning made up for 'off-color' comment

Peyton Manning, whose Hall of Fame career spanned 18 seasons and included two Super Bowl titles, might be a better person than football player. The latest proof comes courtesy of Butch Hannah, an NFL umpire for 18 years who retired this offseason.

Hannah, also an SEC official during Manning's time at Tennessee, had plenty of on-field interactions with the legendary quarterback. This is his most memorable.

"Peyton's next-to-last year, the Broncos were facing the Dolphins in Denver and the whole game was a struggle for them," Hannah told Mark Wiedmer of the Times Free Press. "I called back two Denver touchdowns. But they pulled it out by two or three points [39-36]. But late in the game, the clock was about to run out, Peyton mistimed a snap and they had to run one more play. Peyton said something off-color to me, which was not at all like him.

"I told him, 'Peyton, you're better than that.'"

This seems like a reasonable response from Hannah, who probably didn't think anything of it. But the message stuck with Manning, apparently, who sent Hannah a note several weeks later.

"He said he wanted to apologize for his reaction to me that day against the Dolphins," Hannah explained. "Would I please accept his apology? That's the only time that's happened to me in all my years of officiating."

There's more, of course. Fast-forward to a 2015 preseason game between the Broncos and Seahawks in Seattle. Before kickoff, someone puts an arm around Hannah.

"It's Peyton," Hannah rememebered. "He asks me, 'Did you get my card?' I said, 'Peyton, you've got to let this go.' He says, 'You have no idea how upset I was with myself.' That's the kind of son Archie and Olivia raised. Pretty impressive."

In related news, no word on how Manning apologized to these poor kids.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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