Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve Its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence Together!
Jon Kendle is Director of Archives and Football Information at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His biweekly columns tell unique and interesting stories starting from the league’s founding in downtown Canton in 1920 to the present day.
This past week was filled with incredible moments as the Pro Football Hall of Fame carried out its Mission to Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values and Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE during Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls.
For the first time, Archie Manning, the second overall pick in 1971 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, visited Canton, Ohio, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Mannings – father Archie and sons Peyton and Eli – have set themselves apart when it comes to the family business of playing professional football.
Each drafted in the first round, the three quarterbacks combined for 48 years of NFL experience, 338 regular-season wins, 20 Pro Bowls, five league MVPs, two Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year Awards, four Super Bowl victories and three Super Bowl MVP honors.
“In my youth in New Orleans and in Newman School, football carved out a place for my favorite quarterback, my hero, my role model, my dad, Archie Manning, to pass on something he loved to me,” Peyton Manning explained during his Enshrinement speech last Sunday.
Peyton put up some of the most impressive passing statistics of any NFL quarterback in League history during his 18-year career.
It began in 1998 during Peyton’s rookie season. While the Indianapolis Colts struggled as a team, Manning showed flashes of brilliance. The first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, he set rookie records for completions (326), attempts (575), yards (3,739) and touchdowns (26).
Two years later, on Oct. 22, 2000, Peyton threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns while completing 16 of 20 passes against the New England Patriots. He finished the game with a perfect passer rating.
A “perfect game” is credited to any player who hits the top of the passer rating chart. A player cannot achieve higher than a 158.3 rating, according to the system. No quarterback, with a minimum of 20 pass attempts in a game, has achieved as many “perfect games” as Manning (four) since the passer rating system was implemented in 1973.
Following 13 seasons with the Colts, Manning sat out a season as he recovered from a devastating neck injury. Uncertain if he would play another snap in the NFL, he signed with the Denver Broncos and closed out his Hall of Fame career with four more seasons of outstanding play and a Super Bowl 50 victory.
He also continued his assault on the NFL’s record books. During the NFL’s opening night kickoff game of the 2013 season, Manning connected on a league-tying single-game record seven touchdown passes as he led the Broncos over the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens 49-27.
The five-time NFL Most Valuable Player became the first quarterback in the post-merger era to throw for seven touchdowns in a game. He joined Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle (and later, Nick Foles) as the only quarterbacks to accomplish this feat without throwing an interception. Manning finished the game completing 27 of 42 passes for 462 yards.
Later that season, Manning broke the NFL single-season record for touchdown passes and became the first player to record 50 TD passes and throw for 5,000 yards in the same season.
With his final pass of the 2013 NFL season, Peyton connected with receiver Demaryius Thomas for a five-yard TD. The play not only added six points to the scoreboard, but it also set two NFL marks for Manning: 55 TD passes for the season and a single-season passing record of 5,477 yards.
Manning would retire after the 2015 season as the NFL’s leader for career passing yards (71,940), career passing touchdowns (539), total wins including playoffs (201), 4,000-plus-yard passing seasons (14) and consecutive seasons with at least 25 passing touchdowns (13).
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, as it does for ever player who played the game at the professional level, followed along every step of the way to make sure Manning’s legacy is preserved forever in Canton.
Because as Manning so eloquently stated during his speech on Sunday night: “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 is a future to fuel.”