Spreading the Love


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After multiple neck surgeries causing Manning to miss all of the 2011 season, he came back even stronger during the 2012 season. He has done numerous things for charity including starting his own foundation called the Peyback Foundation. Manning will go down as one of the most genuine players of the game.

Zachary Fritzhand, Staff Writer

“Omaha…Omaha,” those familiar with the game of football will recognize this phrase quite easily. During Super Bowl XLVIII, Peyton Manning, quarterback for the Denver Broncos hollered out this peculiar word signaling that he was changing the play.

“ESPN made such a big deal with Manning using the word ‘Omaha,’ it was kind of silly to me,” Junior Max Weiss said.

Manning will go down as one of the best, if not the best quarterback to ever play the game of football. He is known for his sensational play on the gridiron and well as winning a record with five most valuable player awards.

Life of a Winner

Manning attended the University of Tennessee and played football for the Volunteers from 1995 to 1997. He threw for the most yards in Tennessee history (11,201) and also threw for the most touchdown passes throughout his career (101).

He was highly touted coming out of college. He was drafted number 1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1998 NFL Draft. It was not what Manning did on the field but it was his class off the field which led to his legendary status.

“Looking back on that draft class, I remember the other premier quarterback, Ryan Leaf. He never panned out to be great like scouts were predicting,” sophomore Joshua Glynn said.

Career in Review

Right off the bat Manning started quarterback for the team leading them to a dismal three and 13 record.

During the 2000 season, he led the Colts to a winning record, ten and six, reaching the playoffs but losing in the first round. Fast forward two years to 2002 and you have the start of a dynasty.

Manning won his first MVP award during the 2003 season where he threw for more than 4,200 yards and 29 touchdowns. He won his first playoff game defeating the Denver Broncos 41-10. The Colts were one win away from the Super Bowl, only losing to the New England Patriots.

Over the course of the next 10 seasons, Manning would play in three Super Bowls, only winning one back in 2006 when the Colts beat the Chicago Bears. He won three MVP awards before having a career threatening neck injury.

“I remember watching that particular Super Bowl with my dad and he turned to me and said son, you are watching a living legend,” Senior Elliot Levy said.

He was released from the Indianapolis Colts on Mar.7, 2012 and was signed by the Denver Broncos on Mar. 20, 2012 signing a 5-year contract worth $96 million. In his first season with the Broncos, he led his team to the playoffs losing in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens who eventually went on to win the Super Bowl that year.

During the 2013 season, Manning went on to win his record breaking fifth MVP award. He threw for over 5,400 yards and tossed 55 touchdown passes. The Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl by a final score of 43 to eight.

Manning in Popular Culture

Manning has been credited with helping to improve the image of the city of Indianapolis. A curator at the Indiana State Museum observed that “There is no Super Bowl held here without Peyton. There is no Lucas Oil Stadium without Peyton. Without Peyton, the Colts would probably be in Los Angeles right now.”

He has become the NFL’s most marketable player, appearing in several television and printed advertisements for some of the NFL’s biggest sponsors. Manning has appeared in several television commercials including DirecTV and Papa John’s.

Giving back to Charity

Shortly after beginning his NFL career, Manning started his own charity, the Peyback Foundation. The Peyback Foundation’s mission is to help disadvantaged kids, and focuses its efforts in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Indiana.

For his work with this foundation, Manning received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.

Manning, along with his brother Eli, volunteered their assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Among the tasks performed, the Manning’s assisted in the delivery of 30,000 pounds of water, Gatorade, baby formula, diapers, and pillows to the people of New Orleans.

During September of 2007, St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis renamed its children’s hospital the “Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent.” Manning and his wife made a donation of an undisclosed amount to St. Vincent’s and have had a relationship with the hospital since his arrival in Indianapolis.

Peyton Manning drops back to throw in the first quarter of Denver's 41-20 win over the Cardinals Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
Peyton Manning drops back to throw in the first quarter of Denver’s 41-20 win over the Cardinals Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Manning is signed under contract to play quarterback for the Denver Broncos through the year 2017. He will go down one of the best players to ever play the game of football. His legacy on and off the field will forever leave a mark on the game of football.