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Gretzky can relate to Peyton’s return to Indy

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In many respects, the return of quarterback Peyton Manning to Indianapolis has no NFL precedent.  Yes, Brett Favre returned to Green Bay, but only after he burned the bridge.  (And then texted photos of the wreckage.)

Manning returns not as a pariah but as a hero to Indianapolis, the city where the pro football team largely languished for 14 years before his arrival.  (Yes, Jim Harbaugh, we remember that you took the Colts to the brink of the Super Bowl.)

When it comes to one of the greatest players in football history going home to be embraced, the greatest hockey player of all time can relate.

“Peyton won’t sleep much this week because of the emotions and excitement that he’s probably feeling,” Gretzky told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.  “I can’t speak for him, but I know what I went through.  It’s pretty emotional.  I spent a lot of years there, like he did, and you become almost friends with the city. . . .

“Indianapolis is similar to Edmonton in that it’s not New York or Los Angeles.  So you’re at the stadium, and the places you go to eat, and the people you meet in the community are the people who are in those seats.  So they become friends.  They’re not just fans, they become more like friends.  So it becomes very emotional.”

Coincidentally, Gretzky made his return to Edmonton after being traded to the L.A. Kings 25 years ago tonight.  Tomorrow night, Peyton will get the chance to duplicate the experience.

In October 1988, Gretzky (who played minor league hockey in Indianapolis) received a four-minute standing ovation in Edmonton.

“There’s nothing like winning a championship,” Gretzky said.  “There’s nothing like being told, ‘You guys are champions,’ and lifting the trophy.  But for those four minutes, it may have been the greatest four minutes of my entire career.”

For Peyton, the question is how long the ovation will be — and whether it will in any way disrupt him as he tries to focus on the task of taking the Broncos to 7-0 and chasing the two rings that his former owner wishes they’d won in Indy.

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11 Responses to “Gretzky can relate to Peyton’s return to Indy”
  1. thejuddstir says: Oct 19, 2013 11:11 PM

    Peyton Manning returns to Indy and gets a standing ovation…..B.Favre returns to Green Bay and gets booed. Stay classy Indy, stay classy.

  2. twoticketstoparadise20 says: Oct 19, 2013 11:20 PM

    Not entirely the same since Wayne-o forced his way out of Edmonton and to LA while the Colts were the ones who made the decision w/r/t Manning.

  3. earpaniac says: Oct 19, 2013 11:40 PM

    I know it’s just a story, but IMO, there isn’t even a comparison between the situations. Gretzky’s return was a MUCH bigger deal.

  4. jeremyb91 says: Oct 19, 2013 11:46 PM

    There’s a huge difference between “The Great One” and Peyton Manning. Manning is considered one of the best to ever play the game. Gretzy is the best to ever play his sport and when he was traded Edmonton had won 4 Stanley Cup Championships before they traded a healthy Gretzky to LA to Manning’s one in Indy.

  5. vanpelt says: Oct 20, 2013 2:38 AM

    I expect Colts fans to be pretty quiet when Peyton calls plays.

  6. vanpelt says: Oct 20, 2013 3:11 AM

    According to the stats Wallace only has one drop this year in 44 targets. Tannehill has decent pass completion stats (62% overall, 60% on 21-30 yard throws.) which could mean that Wallace’s lack of production is due to his ability to get open.

  7. ad2k13 says: Oct 20, 2013 3:27 AM

    Hockey sucks.

  8. joetoronto says: Oct 20, 2013 5:08 AM

    “the greatest hockey player of all time can relate.”

    Gretzky really was great, but the greatest ever?

    That’s reserved for Bobby Orr.

  9. mustbechris says: Oct 20, 2013 5:40 AM

    Wayne is the man

  10. kwgator says: Oct 20, 2013 8:25 AM

    Maybe Peyton’s wife has a gambling problem as well!

  11. johnnyqbp says: Oct 20, 2013 10:05 AM

    Peyton also has no smoking hot daughters. So this can’t be the same situation at all.

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