On Wednesday, the Denver Broncos announced that former quarterback Peyton Manning (2012-15) has been elected to the club's Ring of Fame. Manning will enter the Broncos' pantheon of all-time greats the same year he gets enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for time and eternity.
While Manning's election to the RoF seemed like a matter of course, the honor was incredibly meaningful to the NFL's only five-time MVP. Following the team's announcement, 'The Sheriff' released a statement reacting to the news.
“I’m incredibly honored to be named to the Broncos Ring of Fame. Having been on the field when other members of the Ring of Fame have been inducted, you can tell what a special fraternity it is and how excited they are to join such a distinguished group. From Floyd Little to Karl Mecklenburg to Steve Atwater to many others, I’ve always looked up at the names around the stadium and admired the great players the Broncos have had over the years. I’m very humbled to now join them as a Ring of Famer.
“When I came to Denver back in 2012, it was exactly how I thought it would be—a franchise with a winning tradition and incredible fan support in a great community. There were a lot of unknowns coming off an injury with a new team. Once I got my confidence, we went on a heckuva run and never looked back. That’s a credit to the many great teammates and coaches I had during my time with the Broncos. The chemistry with D.T. (Demaryius Thomas), Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Emmanuel Sanders and all those guys on offense was special. Winning the Super Bowl in 2015, we had an all-time defense and a really fun group with Von (Miller), Aqib (Talib), DeMarcus (Ware) and some other outstanding players. It ended up being a great decision to come here not only to play for the Broncos but to be part of this special community. Denver is a destination city. Our family is proud to call Denver our home and live in this community even after football. I’m very appreciative and grateful for my time with the Broncos. It’s a tremendous honor to be named to the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame.”
Leave it up to the NFL's best living historian to recognize the greats he'll be joining in the Broncos' Ring of Fame. Manning, despite being arguably the best quarterback of all time, has never shied away from genuflecting to greatness, whether in the form of a long-retired player or a contemporary rival on the field.
Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Manning would pay such attention to detail and honor of those who came before him. After all, this is the same guy who as a child, would lay on the bed in his room and listen to recordings of AM-radio broadcasts of old college and NFL games, and memorize each player while imagining being there himself.
This man honors the game of football at every turn, which is what made his Peyton's Places show on ESPN+ so enthralling and critically well-received. From The Elway Cross to the Miraculous Reception, and more, Manning chronicled the history of the game and its tentpole moments in captivating fashion.
Manning is as much a unique man as he is a unicorn of a quarterback. The Broncos knew they were getting a stalwart on and off the field but even now, I've got to say, I might have underappreciated just how special this man is when he landed in Denver back in 2012.
Manning went on a four-year tear with the Broncos that resulted in what many believe was the most prolific period in team history — if not in the entirety of NFL annals.
He left Denver with a Comeback Player of the Year accolade, his fifth NFL MVP award, three additional Pro Bowl nods, two first-team All-Pro selections, four AFC West crowns, two AFC titles, and a World Championship.
Hats off to Manning.