They Said It: Peyton Manning's Hall Of Fame Career

Peyton Manning will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this weekend. Ahead of the legendary quarterback’s enshrinement, Colts.com dove into the archives and looked back on Manning’s time in Indianapolis. 

Peyton Manning in 2021 on NFL Network, on his favorite moment from his career:

"It's so hard to pick one. Certainly Indianapolis, we had so many good years, just didn't always finish the way that we wanted to. And then finally in 2006 we played the AFC Championship game at home, made a comeback against the great Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. I just remember, kinda from that time we took a knee to kinda the locker room, to getting to celebrate with my family. Had a great after party in downtown Indianapolis with family and friends and just the electricity in that city knowing it was the first opportunity for the World Championship to come to Indianapolis.

"There was a buzz and a lot of confidence going down into that Super Bowl because we had finally gotten over the hump against the Patriots. So I just remember kinda slowing down, having a chance to really take that night in and realize it is not just about you as a quarterback or your teammates. It is the fans, it is the people that have been going to the old Hoosier Dome since 1984 when the Colts moved from Baltimore. Some pretty lean years for a while. That was just a moment where the entire city and state and the players all celebrated together. That's one that just sticks out as a pretty fun moment."

Manning, from his Pro Football Hall of Fame press conference in February:

"I think about Edgerrin (James) and Marvin (Harrison) in 1999, being together and kind of beginning this turnaround in Indianapolis, and kind of help make it a true football town and football state. So (I'm) proud to be going in with Edgerrin, and I was there for Marvin — those are two of the first guys that I called, and I certainly see some of those other names that you mentioned getting a knock on their door in the near future."

Manning, talking to former Colts center Jeff Saturday after being elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, about what he wants people to remember about him:

"Well, I mean, I think the main thing is I want them to know how much I enjoyed everything that came with it. I enjoyed the work, I enjoyed the preparation. Everybody loves to play. As Marvin Harrison once said, they're paying you to practice; you know, the games you kind of play for free. And I think I agree with that, that all the hard work and the tough losses that we had that we stayed together and overcame them the next year, you know, everything kind of mattered to me about it.

"I was all in all the time, and I think that's a good way to approach it. But, like I said, as I think back, the people that I've gotten to meet on this ride, and to be a part of it, that's just been my greatest takeaway. I loved it, and I'm just thankful for the Colts — Jim Irsay and Bill Polian — for drafting me; I had 14 wonderful years in Indy, and Jim Irsay's going to fly me and my son down to Tampa for the Super Bowl on the Colts' plane, and just typical generosity of Jim. And thankful to the Broncos' organization for letting me come and play here. So I guess just a quarterback that's very grateful; if there's one word, that'd be a good word I hope people will remember about me."

Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay in February 2021:

"As one of the best to ever play, Peyton is rightfully credited for revolutionizing and mastering the quarterback position, the most important position in all of sports. There have been many greats to play the game, but few had the absolute command of the field as Peyton did. Simply put, he changed the way quarterbacks play the game, and every quarterback since has learned from watching him.

"But as we all know Peyton is bigger than just football. His accomplishments off the field are well known and too numerous to list. Peyton gave back to our community just as passionately as he played on the field, and whenever the community called on him, he answered. For that we will be grateful always. Our franchise, our city and state, and our fans were forever changed by Peyton Manning, and we congratulate him for receiving this highest honor in pro football."

Irsay, speaking to Jeffrey Gorman in 2020, on how Peyton Manning wound up with the Colts:

"I'm trying to negotiate to get Bill Polian here, and we're moving forward and those sorts of things, and I know I'm making big changes, and I know the quarterback's the key and that sort of thing, and I know it's about having the No. 1 pick.

"So we lose to the Vikings, I come home … and now Arizona's playing, and Jake Plummer, they have to win the game to put us into the No. 1 pick. Literally, literally, with seconds to go, Plummer hits the guy with the pass in the end zone, and we flip from 2 to 1, and I went screaming like a madman, and my wife and kids — and the kids were smaller back then — they're like, 'What the hell was wrong with you, dad?' I called Bill Polian and he still didn't understand, because I had known that if you're at 1 or 2 you want 1, you want to be able to control your own destiny and you want to trust you'll make the right choice.

"And that changed Colts history forever. Isn't that something? You come back and it doesn't look good, and then Jake Plummer does that, and then Peyton Manning comes in and the rest is history. I mean, I don't know what to say except that I know that we're responsible for the effort, and God's responsible for the outcome. And God loves football too, and we refer to the football gods because we know that we think we control everything — well, we don't. I mean, we don't control everything, but we know that we control our part, and then good things happen with hard work and staying ready to take advantage of any opportunity that's there for your franchise." 

Former Colts coach and Pro Football Hall Of Famer Tony Dungy in 2021:

"Peyton, congratulations. Coming into the Hall of Fame is so well deserved. But to me, your Hall of Fame accomplishments off the field even overshadow what you've done on the field. Thank you for being such a leader for us, thank you for being such a great person in Indianapolis on and off the field. Congratulations and welcome to the Hall."

Dungy, speaking at Manning's statue unveiling in Indianapolis in 2017:

"I was blessed to coach in the National Football League for 28 years. I ran across a lot of players who were great people; you don't hear about all the great things they do — we tend to focus on the negatives — but I ran across a lot of great young men in those 28 years. I ran across a few men who were exceptionally talented and gifted, and maybe the best of all time at what they do. But it's rare you run across one person with both those qualities: great in the community, great person and extremely gifted and talented, and that's Peyton Manning." 

Saturday, speaking at Manning's statue unveiling in 2017:

"You know, you hear all the stories about Peyton's work ethic and what drives him, and all of the things that you hear — film study, all of those things — and it's all true. But Peyton, more than anything, was a catalyst for a group of people and a team that took us to greatness. And you think about the Hall of Famers — you saw Tony (Dungy), you saw Bill (Polian), you know Marvin (Harrison) — future Hall of Famers on this football team — Reggie (Wayne) and Edgerrin (James) and different men who are going to have opportunities — but Peyton was the driving force that really made us great."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, at Manning's statue unveiling in 2017:

"No one has ever represented the game or the league with more class than Peyton Manning."

Former Colts coach Clyde Christensen, speaking on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2018, on his experiences working with Peyton Manning:

"He's terrific. That's one of the fun things in this league, that I think we were together for 11 years or so, so it's kind of the same thing is I always bring up the journey, that he was a single guy who had never won a playoff game when we first got there, and then to see him married and start his family — he has twins — and then, you know, win a couple playoff games and a Super Bowl, etcetera, it was really neat to be a part of it. Just anything that he touches people get better.

"He makes you a better coach, he makes you a better man. He's so demanding, he's also driven. He just has a great way of looking at things — 'How do we make things better? How do we get better at something?' And I think I take that from him; that's always something I'm grateful for having been around him so long, just how he pushes you, how you prepare more as a coach for a meeting, as you prepare more as you bring a game plan to him, just because you know how hard he's worked and how demanding he is that everyone row and take their spot in the boat and do their part."

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