Peyton Manning had an incredible tenure with the Indianapolis Colts. He ultimately won a Super Bowl and proved to be one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. However, Manning’s Colts career came to an abrupt end when Colts owner Jim Irsay decided to dump him and draft Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick. Well, now, almost a decade after the move, Manning, who recently learned that he will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, addressed the situation.
Peyton Manning and the Colts dominated together
The Indianapolis Colts selected Peyton Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft. He then ultimately struggled in his first season, as he led the NFL with 28 interceptions. Manning, though, ultimately became a star with the Colts starting in 1999.
From 1999 through 2010, Manning earned a Pro Bowl selection in 11 of 12 seasons. He also led the NFL in passing yards twice and threw for as many as 4,700 in 2010. This was while he led the league in passing touchdowns three times, as he tossed as many as 49 in 2004. Manning’s play led to him winning four MVP awards while in Indianapolis, too.
In addition to Manning’s individual success, the Colts had a ton of success as a team. Indianapolis went to the playoffs in 11 of 12 seasons from 1999 through 2010, played in three AFC Championship Games, and went to two Super Bowls. Manning and the Colts also won the Super Bowl during the 2006 season.
Manning then missed the entire 2011 season with the Colts and joined the Denver Broncos in 2012. He then earned three consecutive Pro Bowl selections with the Broncos in four seasons and even won the MVP award in 2013, as he threw for an NFL-leading 5,477 yards and a league-leading 55 touchdowns — the most in a single season in league history. Manning and the Broncos then ended up winning the Super Bowl in his final season in 2015.
For his career, Manning threw for 71,940 yards and 539 touchdowns, which are both third all-time. He also earned 14 Pro Bowl selections and earned the NFL MVP award a record five times.
Peyton Manning’s Colts career ended because of Andrew Luck
After the 2011 season that Manning missed due to injury, Colts owner Jim Irsay decided to part ways with Manning, who was 36 years old at the time, and draft his future quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick — Andrew Luck.
As mentioned above, Manning went on to dominate with the Broncos. He went to two more Super Bowls and won one more. The Colts, though, weren’t too bad with Luck. They went to the playoffs in each of Luck’s first three seasons and even went to the AFC Championship Game in his third season in 2014.
However, Indianapolis missed the playoffs in three consecutive seasons from 2015 through 2017, and Luck missed the entire year during that 2017 season. Indy then made the playoffs again in 2018, but Luck shockingly retired before the 2019 season. So, Irsay’s decision to part ways with Manning ultimately didn’t pay off as Luck only retired three more seasons after Manning did.
So, how does Manning feel about the situation now?
He sent a strong message about the situation
Peyton Manning attended Super Bowl 55 after learning that he had been voted into the Hall of Fame the day before. Before the Super Bowl, Manning appeared on his former Colts teammate Pat McAfee’s show and discussed his relationship with Jim Irsay.
“I had a wonderful 14 years there; it’s obviously the team that I wanted to play for always,” Manning, who rode to the Super Bowl in Irsay’s massive plane, said on the Feb. 7 episode of The Pat McAfee Show. “Things happen; I got injured. Colts get the first [overall] pick. To be bitter and to be frustrated; it’s like it ruined everything you worked for in those 14 years. So, Jim Irsay drafted me, he always had my back, and so I understood the decision he had to make and no hard feelings. For him to send his plane to fly me and my son down here; that was a great gesture.”
So, how about that plane?
“I thought it was like the team plane to fly all of the Indianapolis Colts. Literally, it’s got the logo on it,” Manning said. “… A lot of room for me and Marshall. We were throwing the football on that plane.”
Peyton Manning’s Colts career probably didn’t end the way he wanted it to, but it appears that it all worked out OK for the Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference