Thirty-one years ago, 12-year-old Peyton Manning looked on as his father, Archie, was being inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
On Saturday night, Peyton was given one heck of a full-circle experience.
Manning himself was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, joining the rest of the 11-member Class of 2019 for a nostalgic weekend in Natchitoches, La.
"This is a very special recognition to be going into the same hall of fame that my father was inducted into back in 1988," Manning told reporters. "I remember being here in Natchitoches that night. Terry Bradshaw was inducted, I think Elvin Hayes, if I recall, was inducted that same night. So to be one of three father-son combinations to be in the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, I can't tell you what a thrill that is."
While Peyton Manning spent his college days at Tennessee and developed into one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time with the Indianapolis Colts and, later, with the Denver Broncos, it was in Louisiana where he set his roots athletically. He was an All-State and prep All-American selection at Newman High School in his hometown of New Orleans, where he got on the map early connecting with his older brother, Cooper, a talented wide receiver in his own right, and eventually developed into one of the top high school recruits in the country.
Manning has never forgotten where he came from.
"Well you’re only born in one place, in one state, and Louisiana, city of New Orleans, means a great deal to me. And I always have carried that with me at all the different stops along the way," Manning told KTBS. "I’ve been very fortunate to have been a part of some different communities, but you’re only gonna have hometown. My parents still live in New Orleans, my brother, Cooper, lives there; (I) get back as often as I can — we still have our high school football camp we’ve had in Thibodaux, La., for years — so it’s still very much a part of my life. And great friends, great memories, and once I received news of this induction, it’s been fun to kind of reflect and go down memory lane of my high school time and all the great memories here this great state."
Manning said he was also honored to join a couple Colts teammates among those enshrined at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame; wide receivers Brandon Stokley and Reggie Wayne were inducted last year.
"We had a bunch of great players. I always felt a connection with guys from Louisiana," Manning said. "There’s just a bond and a connection there that you’re proud of. And Texas and California and Florida, big states, but Louisiana has had so many great athletes. So to be in this hall is very special."
Manning won't have to wait long for his next big speech, by the way. He's being inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday.