Peyton Manning: We have to cultivate the game that has given us so much


Peyton Manning delivered an all-time Hall of Fame speech, spending the first minute of his 9-minute speech making fun of the strict 8-minute time limit enshrinees faced this year.

“When I was playing for the Colts and there were just a few seconds on the play clock and we needed the ball snapped quickly, I would yell, ‘Hurry! Hurry!’ to my center Jeff Saturday. He would immediately snap me the ball,” Manning said. “Tonight’s speech is an all-time Hurry! Hurry! The 2021 induction class would like to thank those previous inductees who gave long-winded acceptance speeches, forcing us to have a whooping 6 minutes to recap our long careers. I want to give a special thanks to my old rival Ray Lewis for being here tonight. Ray just finished giving his speech that started in 2018. Next year, the acceptance speeches will probably shrink to 4 minutes, and speaking of rivals, my good friend Tom Brady is here tonight. By the time Tom Brady is inducted in his first year of eligibility in the year 2035, he’ll only have time to post his acceptance speech on his Instagram account.”

Manning, 45, headlined the Class of 2021 on Sunday night.

He talked about the busts speaking to each other and described a dream he had of playing a game with the Hall of Famers.

Manning ended his speech challenging everyone to make the game better.

“As members of this honored class, we have a responsibility to make our game stronger from the core playground to the most celebrated stadiums,” Manning said. “During the past few years, the game of football has been challenged by an explosion of sports and entertainment options, safety concerns, erupting social justice issues and a world-wide pandemic. Displaced fans has taken on an entirely new meaning as our stadiums have been shut down and fans shut out. We certainly shouldn’t walk away now. When we leave this stage tonight, it is no longer about us. It is about cultivating the game that has given so much to us. It’s about nurturing football to live and thrive another day, another year, another decade, another generation. It’s about guaranteeing that kids everywhere can learn, bond, grow and have fun with every flag pulled, every tackle made, every pass thrown, every run, block, sack and touchdown scored.

“The audience here tonight is made up of diehard fans who feel football deep in your bones. Now, we may have ignited the fire, but you, you have fanned the flames, and inevitably those flames will be whipped by the winds of change, but they don’t need to smolder. The future of this game is ours to shape. We just need to take tomorrow on our shoulders as readily as we donned our pads before each game. Let this moment become a cherished memory, and then remember, a legacy is only worthwhile when there’s a future to fuel. God bless you and God bless football.”

19 responses to “Peyton Manning: We have to cultivate the game that has given us so much

  1. Very impassioned speech. Wish he were President with that kind of public speaking ability.

  2. Great player, better person. Couldn’t ask for a better ambassador for the game. Peyton Manning gets it.

  3. Hopefully he thanked or at least apologized to all his receivers that he got killed with concussions throwing them into hits over the middle. Guy was a stat machine but that’s about it. Won his first Super Bowl after the NFL changed the rules to keep defenses from actually being able to play defense, then his second Super Bowl was a lifetime achievement award rather than anything he did in that game to win it. I could have quarterbacked that Broncos team to a Super Bowl win and probably put up the same stats he did in that game. Overrated in my opinion and honestly of the two I’d rather have Eli because he could actually beat the Patriots when it counted.

  4. I remember getting into heated debates circa 2007-08 about who was goat between Manning and Brady… I’d have to say Brady definitely commands the throne, but Manning is definitely second. For as much as he (or his team) struggled in the postseason, he absolutely owned the regular season.

  5. Amazed to think folk compare him to Brady.
    Nine times he got knocked out in the first round of the play offs…

    Not a single Colts fan would take his career over Bradys.
    Not one!

  6. As a Bostonian and diehard pats fan, Peyton brought the best out in tommy. I was at opening night 2004 and watching them go back and fourth was wild.

    Then, I was lucky enough to be stationed in Hawaii from 2006-2014, and met Peyton at the pro bowl practice on Hickman AFB. What a legend. Always terrified of him with the ball in his hands knowing in the blink of an eye he’s at the goal line. WELL DESERVED SHERIFF.

  7. He doesn’t want to coach or be a GM. His eyes are set on Goodell’s job. He’ll end up being either commissioner or something close to it.

  8. Class act. Would love to see him back working for or with the Broncos somehow.
    I feel he would be a tremendous coach but his passion seems to be ownership. Jeff Bezos should buy the Broncos 3.9 bill and let Manning operate it.

  9. The Derek Jeter of football……there aren’t many athletes I would start a new franchise with but this guy would be at the top of my list

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