Peyton Manning loves the number “18” for obvious reasons (I mean, we ALL do).
But he may start liking the number “21” quite a bit too. Because 2021 will be the year his NFL career becomes immortalized in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.
The team announced today that Manning will be inducted into the ROF during the Week 8 matchup against Washington Football Team, marking just the second time in team history that a player was inducted in the PFHOF and the ROF the same season. Manning will be joining Champ Bailey in that honor. John Elway, whose “five year waiting period” after retirement was waived for his induction into the Ring of Fame, was already there when he became a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Canton.
“Peyton defined greatness as a Bronco. We’re thrilled that he will now join the other Broncos legends as our newest Ring of Famer.”#Broncos Pres. & CEO Joe Ellis on Peyton Manning’s #BroncosROF election: pic.twitter.com/H7hruLUbm5— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) June 9, 2021
The former Colts quarterback joined the Broncos in 2012, taking the team to four AFC West titles, two AFC Championships, two Super Bowl appearances and one Lombardi-earning Super Bowl.
He was a two-time first-team All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler with the Broncos. In 2013, he set the single season passing record that remains his record, throwing for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. That year he earned the NFL MVP award. Though the Broncos’ Super Bowl hopes that year would be squashed by the Seahawks, a hobbled-but-determined Manning led the Broncos to their third Super Bowl victory in franchise history in 2015, behind an historic defensive performance.
Broncos president and CEO noted that it was no surprise Manning was unanimously elected as the 35th member of the Ring of Fame.
“His four seasons in Denver were marked by record-setting individual success and exceptional leadership that helped the Broncos to multiple Super Bowls and one of the winningest periods in team history,” Ellis said, adding that Manning’s impact was felt immediately when he joined the team. “Coming back from a serious injury — with a new team in a new city — to not only win MVP but to have one of the greatest single seasons ever by any player was a remarkable feat.”
Brandon McManus signs off his presser with "congratulations again to Peyton [Manning], well deserved.— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) June 9, 2021
He's a beautiful man."
As a Bronco, Manning threw for 17, 112 yards and 140 touchdowns, notching the highest completion percentage for any Broncos QB in team history. Manning is among the 10 Broncos named to the NFL 100 team.
Manning will also be the fifth Broncos’ quarterback to be in the Ring of Fame, joining Elway, Frank Tripucka, Charley Johnson and Craig Morton. The second QB to wear No. 18 for the Broncos will be the only former Bronco being honored with the ROF induction for 2021, but fans will also get to celebrate the 2020 inductee - former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.
Like all ROF inductees, Manning will have an eight-foot pillar erected in the Ring of Fame Plaza at Empower Field at Mile High.
“Peyton defined greatness as a Bronco,” Ellis added. “We’re thrilled that he will now join the other Broncos legends as our newest Ring of Famer.”
Manning, of course, thanked his Broncos teammates as well as Broncos Country for what he was able to accomplish in those four years in Denver.
“When I came to Denver back in 2012, it was exactly how I thought it would be—a franchise with a winning tradition and incredible fan support in a great community. There were a lot of unknowns coming off an injury with a new team. Once I got my confidence, we went on a heckuva run and never looked back. That’s a credit to the many great teammates and coaches I had during my time with the Broncos. The chemistry with D.T. (Demaryius Thomas), Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and all those guys on offense was special. Winning the Super Bowl in 2015, we had an all-time defense and a really fun group with Von (Miller), Aqib (Talib), DeMarcus (Ware) and some other outstanding players. It ended up being a great decision to come here not only to play for the Broncos but to be part of this special community. Denver is a destination city. Our family is proud to call Denver our home and live in this community even after football. I’m very appreciative and grateful for my time with the Broncos. It’s a tremendous honor to be named to the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.”
One of those former teammates - and the guy who really gave Manning his second Super Bowl Ring - could not think of enough compliments for his former quarterback.
“Man, I’ve got all types of stories,” Von Miller said. “Peyton, he just had this dry sense of humor. You never really knew if he was joking or if he was serious. It was so many different moments like that and so many different speeches when he stood up and talked to the team. You look around after the speech and everybody is just so laser focused and locked into his message and his word. We went out there and played the same. It was so many things that he did, and he did it so effortlessly as a leader and as a teammate. He was just an incredible person. You don’t realize the type of players or the type of teammates you have until they’re gone. Peyton, he was a magical and a very, very special player, teammate and brother, all of that stuff. There are so many stories that we can go across. Peyton was just an unbelievable person and an unbelievable player.”