Peyton Manning and the Broncos will play his former team, the Colts, on Sunday Night Football in Indianapolis. Manning’s return is a huge event for all football fans but he doesn’t know what to expect.
Pay per head services can see that Manning is still a beloved figure in Indianapolis, where he spent the first 14 years of his NFL career, won a Super Bowl and an unprecedented four NFL Most Valuable Player Awards and most Colts fans want to see him throw five touchdown passes on Sunday and lose.
“There’s a lot of people who think that Lucas Oil Stadium wouldn’t have been built without Peyton, and without Lucas Oil there is no Super Bowl, there’s no doubt about that,” Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said. “He meant so much to the city.”
You won’t find many examples of superstar quarterbacks coming back to their old cities to face their former teams. Brett Favre returned Green Bay when he was playing for the Vikings and Joe Montana played the 49ers when he was with the Chiefs, but that was in Kansas City.
Still, the Colts are planning what should be an elaborate pregame tribute to Manning, who was released in March 2012 after owner Jim Irsay decided not to pay him a $28 million roster bonus. Now Manning will be facing the only team in the league he has yet to defeat in a game that has dominated NFL headlines all week.
Peyton Manning doesn’t know what to expect and he doesn’t want to guess.
“I think I’d be wrong to try to predict or guess,” Manning said. “It’s certainly a unique game. Somebody asked me earlier, ‘Is it the same as playing against [younger brother] Eli?’ And I said, ‘I guarantee Robert Mathis hits a heck of a lot harder than Eli does.'”
Since his tearful farewell news conference on March 7, 2012, when his neck injuries left his football future uncertain, Peyton Manning has moved on and so have the Indianapolis Colts. Manning is on his way to a record-breaking season for the Broncos while the Colts are 4-2 so far with quarterback Andrew Luck building his own legacy.
It might be weird for longtime Colts defenders when they first position themselves across the line of scrimmage from Peyton Manning, who for years wore a red jersey at practice, meaning he was not to be touched.
“I’m pretty sure we are going to love to get our chances to get P on the ground a few times,” said safety Antoine Bethea.
That’s exactly what they need to do if they want to have a chance to beat the Broncos, as Manning is on pace to break single-season passing records for touchdowns (he has 22 throught six games; the record by Tom Brady is 50) and average quarterback rating (128.8).