The Loop

Football Guy

Peyton Manning’s Hall of Fame enshrinement speech was some good stuff

August 09, 2021

On Sunday night, Peyton Manning officially became a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In our lifetimes, we can’t think of a more fitting member. He has the stats. He has the championships. He has the professionalism. But perhaps most importantly, no one ate, slept, and breathed football quite like Peyton Manning—a notorious film guru whose very voice is as synonymous with slinging the pigskin as John Madden’s. So it stands to reason that Manning’s enshrinement would be a little more than your ordinary “ah shucks, thanks for having me,” and in Canton on Sunday he more than delivered on that expectation.

First he began with his SNL-honed wit, taking shots at Tom Brady (advisable) and Ray Lewis (less advisable) …

Soon, though, he turned to focus for the evening, which wasn’t himself or even all the people that helped get him to that stage. Instead, Manning’s driving theme was the future of football and the roll Hall of Famers should play in not only protecting that future, but enhancing it. Capping his speech, he launched into the following monologue, which can still be heard echoing around the internet this morning.

If that doesn’t get you fired up for football in a month’s time, then check your pulse. Sure it’s full of cliches, but when Manning says, “it is no longer about us, it’s about cultivating the game that has given so much to us,” it’s hard not to perk up and listen. In the modern NFL, how often do you hear a player talk about anything other than themselves? It was enough that even Adam Schefter, who hears football stuff all day every day, took notice.

Commissioner Manning. That has a nice ring to it.