Must Watch: Peyton Manning's Goodbye To Football, With NFL Films Touch

Intro: Football fans everywhere couldn't help but be impressed with Peyton Manning's final performance — his farewell speech. NFL Films this week released a version of Manning's speech full of terrific sights and sounds.


RELATED LINK:NFL Network Reveals 'Top 10 Peyton Manning Games'INDIANAPOLIS —A legendary speech by Peyton Manning

The whimsical sights and sounds of NFL Films.

Put the two together, and you have perfection.

NFL Films this week released its version of Peyton Manning's epic retirement speech back in early March, when he went out on his terms after winning his second Super Bowl championship.

His words were amazing — reflective, thought-provoking, funny. Everything you'd expect out of No. 18, and more.

So without further ado, be sure to check out the NFL Films version of Manning's speech, with excerpts below:

"In my very first NFL game, I completed a pass to tight end Marcus Pollard down the middle. And somebody hit me really hard, and after I got up, I told myself, 'I know I can play in this league.' In the beginning of my time in Indy, the team's struggles were agonizing. We ended my rookie season 3-13, and in the process, I set the NFL rookie record for interceptions — a record that I still hold today. Every year I pull for a rookie quarterback to break that record.*

Fast forward to my second year, when we had gotten things going a little bit. We were playing the Dallas Cowboys, including Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders. … We beat the Cowboys that week, and we let the world know that the Colts had arrived. Make no mistake about it — we were coming, and we went on to do some phenomenal things, like winning at least 12 games seven years in a row, and, of course, winning Super Bowl XLI. And I was truly honored and proud to be a part of it.


Behind the scenes photos from the Peyton Manning press conference at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. The Colts announced that #18 will be retired and a statue of Manning will be erected outside Lucas Oil Stadium.

When someone thoroughly exhausts an experience, they can't but revere it. I revere football. I love the game. So you don't have to wonder if I'll miss it. Absolutely. Absolutely I will. Our children are small now, but as they grow up, we're going to teach them to enjoy the little things in life, because one day they'll look back and discover those really were the big things. **

So here are the seemingly little things that, when I look into my rear-view mirror, have grown much bigger. I'm going to miss my battles with players named Lynch, Lewis, Thomas, Bruschi, Feltcher, Dawkins, Seau, Urlacher, Polamalu, Harrison, Woodson and Reed. And with coaches like Fisher, Ryan, Belichick, Kiffin, Phillips, Rivera, LeBeau, Crennel, Capers, Lewis, the late Jim Johnson and so many more. I always felt like I was kind of playing against that middle linebacker or that safety or that defensive coach.**

I'll miss figuring out blitzes with Jeff Saturday, Reggie (Wayne) sitting on top of the bench next to me, and perfecting a fake handoff to Edgerrin James. I'll miss Demaryius Thomas telling me that he loved me, and thanking me for coming to Denver after every touchdown I threw to him. I'll miss putting in a play with Tom Moore and Adam Gase that ends in a touchdown, and afterwards, I'll miss recapping the game with my dad, and checking to see if the Giants won, and calling Eli. I'll miss that handshake with Tom Brady, I'll miss playing in front of so many great fans — both at home and on the road. And I'll even miss the Patriot fans in Foxboro. And they should miss me, because they sure did get a lot of wins off of me.**

And this is important: football fans everywhere need to know how much they meant to be over the years. Fans, you're at the core of what makes this game remarkable.**

Football has taught me not to be led by obstructions and setbacks, but instead to be led by dreams. Due to some good genes, I'm smart enough to know that those lessons can enrich who I am, and where I go from here. I'm totally convinced that the end of my football career is just the beginning of something I haven't even discovered yet. **

Pundits will speculate that my effort and drive over the past 18 years were about mastery, and about working to master every aspect of the NFL game. Well don't believe them, because every moment, every drop of sweat, every bleary-eyed night of preparation, every note I took and every frame of film I watched was about one thing: reverence for this game. When I look back at my NFL career, I'll know without a doubt that I gave everything I had to help my teams walk away with the win.**

There were other players who were more talented, but there was no one who could out-prepare me. And because of that, I have no regrets.**

There's a scripture reading: 2 Timothy 4:7 — 'I have fought the good fight, and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.' Well, I fought a good fight, I finished my football race, and after 18 years, it's time. God bless all of you, and God bless football."*

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