Marcus J Carlson

Personal Website of Marcus J. Carlson

Thank You Peyton

Most believe that Peyton Manning is going to retire and has finished his NFL playing career. I too suspect that is the case and for his health and family, hope it is the case. If Peyton does indeed retire, he has truly gone out on top with a storybook ending. Winning his second Super Bowl after a tumultuous season riddled with injury and poor performance, I could not have hoped for anything better.

To say that I am a huge Peyton Manning fan would be an understatement. In recent years I have been working on collecting a good amount of Peyton Manning memorabilia, most of which is in my office at work. I have always enjoyed sports, and over the year the sports that I have most enjoyed are college basketball and pro football (I do love the Olympics as well!). By far, Peyton Manning is my favorite athlete of all time. While he has accomplished much, his accomplishments are not the reason that I admire Peyton Manning. It is Peyton’s faith, character, charity work and work ethic that I admire the most. It was 2003 when I first became a Peyton fan (and as a result a Colts fan). Having rooted for the Eagles and Packers up until then (and they remain in my 4 teams I like list), Peyton turned me into a Colts fan. At the time I was serving a church In Lafayette, IN as a youth pastor. One of my middle school youth was having a liver transplant and spent a lot of time at the children hospital in Indianapolis. Peyton was there all the time doing so much with and for the kids. He has since had a hospital named after him as a part of his charitable work and giving. I had so much respect for him that I could not help but to root for him. As I got to know him from a distance, I found myself respecting him more and more. Certainly not a perfect person or athlete, yet there is something about him that is truly special. He has and continues to leave his mark on many communities, the NFL and the lives of many. Peyton is not the best athlete of all time, nor is he the best quarterback of all time, yet his accomplishments in the game are undeniable. His accomplishments off the field are far more valuable. Peyton’s great skill has come in his work ethic, planning and ability to read situations. He may be the best offensive coordinator in the NFL. Record passing yards, touchdowns, regular & post season wins, regular season wins, MVP’s, the only quarterback to win a super bowl with two different teams and so much more. I came to love football even more because of Peyton Manning. Yet, it all pales in comparison to his character and his work off the field.

As a bonus, he is endearing, funny, smart and makes some very funny commercials. His appearances on Saturday Nigh Live are unforgettable. He is certainly the only celebrity that I could ever call a hero at this point in my life. Years after leaving the Colts, he is still loved here as a son. Once he left, I became a Broncos fan (I did live in Colorado after all and was rooting for them) and the Colts moved to #2 on my fan list. When he retires, that will reverse. I have had the privilege to be a Colts season ticket holder the past three years. I have seen Peyton play in Denver, Indianapolis and Detroit. I had the distinct honor and opportunity to see him play in Super Bowl 48 in New York. The only thing that is left is the bucket list item to meet him. I am still celebrating and basking in the glory of Super Bowl 50, perhaps the most fitting ending one could ever write for a storied career for a man of great character.

Thank you Peyton, thank you.

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