Longtime NFL official Butch Hannah has announced his retirement, and in an interview with his hometown paper he’s recalled one player whose sportsmanship stood out: Peyton Manning.
Hannah told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press about an on-field run-in he had with Manning, which had an unusual conclusion.
“Peyton’s next-to-last year, the Broncos were facing the Dolphins in Denver and the whole game was a struggle for them,” Hannah said. “I called back two Denver touchdowns. But they pulled it out by two or three points (39-36). But late in the game, the clock about to run out, Peyton mistimed a snap and they had to run one more play. Peyton said something off-color to me, which was not at all like him.
“I told him, ‘Peyton, you’re better than that.'”
Weeks later, Hannah received a letter in the mail from Manning.
“He said he wanted to apologize for his reaction to me that day against the Dolphins,” Hannah said. “Would I please accept his apology? That’s the only time that’s happened to me in all my years of officiating.”
The next year, Hannah worked a Broncos preseason game and Manning approached him beforehand.
“He asks me, ‘Did you get my card?’ I said, ‘Peyton, you’ve got to let this go.’ He says, ‘You have no idea how upset I was with myself.’ That’s the kind of son Archie and Olivia raised. Pretty impressive.”