KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The career of Peyton Manning, also known as ‘the Sheriff’, is one filled with immense success and countless awards from his time on the gridiron. Manning has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 as a “Hero of the Game.”
As he’s set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 8, here’s a look at the illustrious career of one of the best and most decorated quarterbacks to ever play the game of football.
From New Orleans to Knoxville
The 1993 Gatorade Circle of Champions National Player of the Year and two-time Class 2A Most Valuable Player in the state of Louisiana was considered as one of the nation’s top three quarterback prospects. The young man from New Orleans playing quarterback for Isidore Newman High School had a decision to make. Who would he suit up for at the college level?
Manning ended up a Tennessee Volunteer, picking Knoxville over his dad’s (Archie Manning) alma mater Ole Miss in Oxford.
Legendary career as a Tennessee Volunteer
Manning’s time in Knoxville was nothing short of legendary.
He played in 12 games as a freshman including eight starts after Jerry Colquitt was injured in the season-opener, and Todd Helton in the fourth game at Mississippi State. That’s when Manning took the reigns. He won seven of the eight games he started and was named SEC Freshman of the Year.
He continued his dominance into his sophomore year. He started all 12 games, and led the Vols all the way to a Citrus Bowl win over Ohio State, bringing his record as a starter to 18-2. Manning was named a first-team All-SEC selection, a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Quarterback Award and Football News Offensive Player of the Year. He even finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting.
Manning’s junior year was more of the same. He started all 12 games in route to a second-team All-SEC and third-team All-American selections. He finished eighth in Heisman Trophy voting and broke his own school record to become the first-ever Tennessee quarterback to throw over 3,000 yards in a single season. Along with that, he finished the season holding 28 Tennessee game, season, or career records.
Then came March 5, 1997, when Manning announced he would return to the University of Tennessee instead of going into the NFL Draft. What a return it would be.
Manning would finish his collegiate career as an SEC champion and the conference’s all-time career passing leader with a 39-6 career record. He was named a first-team All-American a runner-up for the Heisman Trophy, and took home the Maxwell, Davey O’Brien, and Johny Unitas awards.
Off to dominate in the NFL
In the 1998 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts selected quarterback Peyton Manning from the University of Tennessee. This pick would turn the Colts franchise into an AFC powerhouse and even NFL Super Bowl champions.
During his time with the Colts, the Sheriff lead the franchise to 11 playoff appearances , eight AFC South division titles, three AFC Championship Games, two Super Bowls, and one Super Bowl victory in 2006.
Injury ends Manning’s time in Indy — sparks successful new start in Denver
Manning was sidelined in the 2011 season with the Colts after having neck surgery. After that, he was released by the Colts and signed with the Denver Broncos, adding another successful chapter to his already storied career.
He would start for the Broncos from 2012 to 2015 and would lead them to clinch the AFC West division each season and play in two Super Bowls. After the victory at Super Bowl 50, Manning’s career would come to an end, but not before he became the first starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl for more than one franchise.
Retired from football as a champion
When Peyton Manning left football, he left it as a:
- Two-time Super Bowl Champion
- Five-time NFL MVP
- Two-time Offensive Player of the Year
- NFL Comeback Player of the Year
- Seven-time first team All-Pro
- 14-time Pro Bowler
- SEC Champion
- Campbell Trophy winner
- Maxwell Award winner
- Johnny Unitas Award winner
- And many, many more honors and awards.
Manning has remained in the public eye since his retirement from football. He is the host and executive producer of ‘Peyton Places’, an ESPN+ series where he visited important historical football sites in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the NFL. The series was recently renewed for a 3rd season.
In 2020, Manning and a group of celebrity owners launched a premium bourbon distilled right here in East Tennessee. In July, the Walt Disney Company announced a partnership with Manning and his Omaha Productions company in which Peyton and Eli Manning will be part of a “Monday Night Football” MegaCast for 10 games a year the next three seasons.