There isn’t much that former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning didn’t accomplish during his NFL career.
A five-time NFL Most Valuable Player and two-time Super Bowl champion, the former Tennessee Volunteers signal caller can now add Hall of Famer to his resume after being named to the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class Saturday night at the NFL Honors ceremony.
"Throughout my entire career, I was always reminded of where I came from,” Manning said. “…I always checked it — whether I was an Indianapolis Colt or a Denver Bronco — and it always said 'quarterback, 18, Peyton Manning, 6-5, 225 or 230 and it always said from the University of Tennessee, New Orleans, Louisiana.' I always carried those places with me. Even though it's the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I truly go in as a Colt, Bronco, Tennessee Volunteer and a Newman School graduate from New Orleans."
Manning will be just the third former University of Tennessee player to be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, joining defensive linemen Doug Atkins and Reggie White. In addition to his MVP and Super Bowl accomplishments, Manning was a 14-time Pro Bowler, a seven-time first team All-Pro selection and is one of two quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl with multiple franchises.
When he retired in 2015, Manning had set NFL records in passing yards (71,940), touchdown passes (539) and wins by a QB (186). He still holds single-season records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdown passes (55). He’s the only five-time league MVP and he’s tied for the most Pro Bowl selections.
At Tennessee, Manning led the Vols to four straight bowl games and a top 10 national ranking in three seasons. He led UT to an SEC championship in 1997, was a consensus first team All-American and runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Manning holds UT records for passing yards (11,201), touchdown passes (89), total touchdowns (101), wins by a QB (39), completions (863), pass attempts (1,381) and completion percentage (62.5). He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 draft.
“Peyton's greatest gift may have been his ability to instill confidence in the locker room because of all those amazing traits,” former UT coach Phillip Fulmer said in a school release. “He appreciated his teammates and knew he could not be successful without them. He had the ability to lead, encourage and — when needed — push his teammates to perform at their best. Others followed his lead on the path to success. It is a special characteristic of a great team when your best player is also your hardest worker."
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the fourth hall of fame that Manning has been inducted into. The others are the University of Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame (2016), the College Football Hall of Fame (2017) and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame (2019).
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_