It’s the 18th issue of The Oracle’s Hall of Fame (and the first COVID-19 installment), and who else would be the perfect candidate but the iconic NFL quarterback Peyton Manning? The affable Louisiana native wore the No. 18 every season of his extensive 17-year career with the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos. He went out with a bang, retiring in 2015 following his Broncos’ triumphant 24-10 Super Bowl 50 victory over the Carolina Panthers. It was the second Super Bowl victory of his career, the first being his 2006 win with the Colts.
The former star of countless Nationwide commercials is third all-time in passing yards, with 71,940, and third all-time in total offense, with 70,654 yards. Additionally, he tops the leaderboards in comebacks with 43, and game-winning drives with 54. However, his seniority in the league also lends him some not-so-valuable records, such as being the NFL’s all-time leader in sack percentage and fourth in pick-sixes, with 27.
On a personal note, I always thought Peyton was the NFL’s pinnacle father figure, especially during the waning years of his career with Denver. I preferred him over his brother, Eli, who had served as the New York Giants polarizing starting quarterback for what seemed like eons. Peyton’s humor and outspoken empathy, both on and off the field, made him one of my favorites and one of America’s favorite football players.