Why Peyton Manning Chose to Wear No. 18
Peyton Manning put together an illustrious NFL career that saw him establish himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game. Manning experienced a tremendous amount of success that has intertwined him in league history and will soon make him a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer. Throughout his playing days at the collegiate level and NFL, he continued to don No. 18, which he wore for a special and unique reason.
Peyton Manning’s NFL career
Manning entered the league as the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, which his career quickly took off after a bumpy rookie campaign.
He experienced much success over his 18 seasons that saw him win five MVP awards, two Super Bowls, a Super Bowl MVP, earning 14 Pro Bowl selections, seven First-Team All-Pro nods, two NFL Offensive Player of the Year awards, and NFL Comeback Player of the Year among others.
Manning also holds the most touchdown passes in a single season (55), 14 campaigns with at least 4,000 passing yards, and the single-season passing yard mark (5,477). He had also worked his way toward becoming the all-time leader with 71,940 passing yards and 539 career passing touchdowns.
During his time with the Indianapolis Colts, Manning led them to eight AFC South division titles, two AFC championship games, and a win in Super Bowl XLI. In his four years with the Denver Broncos, he led the team to an AFC West division title in each campaign behind double-digit regular-season wins and two trips to the Super Bowl with his final year winning Super Bowl 50.
Why Peyton Manning wore No. 18
Throughout his entire NFL career and four-year tenure at Tennessee, Manning donned No. 18. It’s a number that he has retired by the Colts and honored by the Broncos.
Back during his time with Indianapolis, Manning revealed during his NFL Films’ In Their Own Words documentary that he wore the number to honor his older brother Cooper.
“He was injured in his freshman year at Ole Miss and he had to give up football so I changed my jersey number to wear the number he wore. It’s the number I still wear today because I fell like am playing football for my brother who doesn’t have a chance to play anymore.”
Manning had donned No. 14 in high school and played with his brother when he was sophomore and Cooper was a senior. The elder Manning had to give up playing football before his first season at Ole Miss due to spinal stenosis.
Peyton voiced over his career that he drew a great deal of inspiration from his older brother and called him his hero. There was a strong emotional connection to the number that inspired Manning to make the most of his playing days.
Peyton Manning’s postcareer
Since stepping retiring, Manning has been involved in various ventures that have kept him around the game.
The 43-year-old has been working with ESPN with his ESPN-Plus series “Peyton’s Places” that has been running since 2019 that will span at least 30 episodes. Meanwhile, he has done work on the company’s Detail series that saw him breakdown film from current quarterbacks in the NFL.
During this time, there have also been various rumors floating around Manning’s potential further involvement with the league. That has ranged from him trying to get into the ownership of a franchise to becoming a general manager. It has now pivoted over to him, possibly jumping into the broadcast booth with both CBS and ESPN making strong pushes to get him to commit.
Regardless of what he will do next, Manning has continued to stay close to the game of football.