Peyton Manning was one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. He had some incredible seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos. However, when looking at a story told by his former Colts teammate, punter Pat McAfee, Manning might actually be just as good at gambling as he was at football.
Peyton Manning was one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history
After a remarkable college career at Tennessee, Manning went to the Indianapolis Colts with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft. He ended up becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history while he was there, too.
Manning earned two Pro Bowl selections and led the Colts to the playoffs in two of his first four seasons. He even led the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns in his third season.
However, starting in 2002, Manning and the Colts went on one of the most dominant runs of all-time. Manning led Indy to nine consecutive playoff appearances from 2002 through 2010. He also led them to two Super Bowl appearances, and they won one Super Bowl title during the 2006 season.
Additionally, during that span, Manning won four MVP awards. His best season in those years probably came in 2004, when he threw for 4,557 yards, 49 touchdowns, and only 10 interceptions.
Manning then went to the Denver Broncos and played there for four seasons from 2012 through 2015. He ultimately led them to two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl title. He also won another MVP during those seasons, as he led the NFL in passing yards in 2013 with 5,477 and passing touchdowns with 55. Those were also both single-season records.
For his career, Manning earned 14 Pro Bowl selections, seven First-Team All-Pro honors, and five MVP awards. He is also third in NFL history in career passing yards with 71,940 and third in career passing touchdowns with 539.
He was teammates with Pat McAfee for three seasons
Pat McAfee has become one of the most popular media personalities in sports. However, he had a pretty successful career as a punter prior to entering the media world.
McAfee earned two Pro Bowl selections in his career and was a First-Team All-Pro once. He ultimately played for the Indianapolis Colts from 2009 through 2016.
While he wasn’t in Indy for much of Manning’s career, McAfee was Manning’s teammate for three seasons. In McAfee’s rookie season in 2009, the Colts went to the Super Bowl before losing to the New Orleans Saints. Manning, of course, had a great season, too, as he threw for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns, earning the league’s MVP award.
McAfee and Manning also played together in 2010, and the Colts lost in the Wild Card round that year. Manning, however, didn’t play at all in 2011 because of a neck injury.
Peyton Manning is also good at gambling
In 2017, the IndyStar published stories about Manning ahead of the unveiling of the Colts’ Peyton Manning statue outside Lucas Oil Stadium. Pat McAfee had a great story about Manning, too.
“I got asked to go on a golf trip with Peyton before he ever really knew me,” McAfee said, according to the IndyStar.
McAfee then said that they got back to the hotel after golfing, and they had to walk through a casino to get to the escalators.
“Apparently, word had gotten out that Peyton Manning was there,” McAfee said, according to the IndyStar. “I stop at the roulette table. I say, ‘I’d like $500 in chips.’ When Peyton walked into the casino, a buzz started. Peyton walks by my table, slaps me right on the butt. … Everybody just looks at me, like, ‘Who the hell are you?’ I tell them I’m his caddy.”
Manning then stood behind his punter for a few, according to McAfee, and before leaving, he said, “’How ‘bout that red 18?’ with a wink and a grin,” says McAfee.
What happened next was incredible.
“So I took all my chips off all my other numbers and put all my chips on red 18,” McAfee said. “Everybody at the table goes, ‘We should probably do that too.’ (Soon) every chip at the entire table was on red 18. … All of a sudden, the number stops on red 18. The other people at the table are like, ‘Oh my God! Jesus himself walked into the casino!’”
McAfee then went up to Manning the next morning and said, “Did you know red 18 hit?” Manning’s reply? “Yeah.”
Manning somehow proved to potentially be just as good at gambling as he was at football. He, however, didn’t actually place a bet himself, but that might have been because even the best gamblers know when to walk away.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference