Peyton Manning is one of the greatest American football quarterbacks of all time thanks to the groundbreaking records he set on the field. The Louisiana native was on a path to greatness in the National Football League (NFL) ever since he was selected first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts.
The prolific player went on to spend 14 seasons with the Colts before joining the Denver Broncos where he played his final four seasons as a professional. During his active years, Manning clinched several titles and awards, including winning the NFL MVP award for a record five times.
Peyton Manning’s Stellar NFL Career
Coming into the NFL, Peyton Manning had a huge reputation. He had helped his high school achieve success with more than 7,000 passing yards. In college at the University of Tennessee, he helped his team to victory in 39 out of 45 games, becoming the team’s all-time leading passer.
It was, therefore, no surprise that Manning was picked up first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. His arrival at the team immediately turned their fortunes around as the Colts were transformed to championship contenders.
Peyton Manning did not disappoint as he led the Colts to clinch one Super Bowl and eight-division Championships in his incredible 14 seasons with the team. In only his second year in the league, the quarterback was nicknamed The Sheriff by pundits due to how audible he always was when organizing his offense at the line of scrimmage.
His Injury Troubles Led To Him Joining the Broncos
In 2011, the American football star encountered a major setback in his career as he underwent neck surgery, which meant he was out of the season. After an incredible 14 seasons with Indianapolis Colts that was embellished with multiple awards and titles, the team opted to release him even though he had just signed a hefty five-year, $90 million contract extension.
Peyton Manning’s prolific performances over the years in the NFL meant he did not have to stay a free agent for long. The Player subsequently signed a five-year deal valued at $96 million with the Denver Broncos.
At the Broncos, he established new records despite his deteriorating health. He was even able to surpass some previous records set by top NFL quarterbacks like Tom Brady and Brett Favre. Manning helped the Broncos to records like the first NFL team to record 600+ points, after recording 606 points throughout the 2013 season.
In February 2016, the two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year guided the Broncos to a Super Bowl title. About a month after, he announced his retirement from the game he loved.
Peyton Manning Retired Because His Body Gave Out
It does not matter how much intelligence your brain has or the speed at which your mind works once your body cannot perform efficiently. That was the realization that led to the retirement of one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.
A neck injury had initially threatened to end his career and led to the end of his time with the Colts. Peyton, however, managed to continue playing for a few more years before an injury-plagued 2015 season prompted him to call time on his career.
Manning’s body’s deteriorating efficiency meant he was mostly a shadow of himself in his last season. He played only ten games, starting nine of them. He completed only 59.8% of his passes, from 331 attempted passes and over 2,249 yards, the lowest since he became a professional player.
His Accolades, Records, and Achievements
Despite a reputation for choking in the post-season after out-of-the-world regular season performances, Peyton Manning managed to grab a few post-season accolades for himself. He won the Super Bowl twice and was Super Bowl MVP once.
In the regular season, his awards include five NFL MVP awards, two NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and three Best NFL Player ESPY Awards. He was also named in 14 Pro Bowls, Seven First-Team All-Pro, and three Second-Team All-Pro. Manning also has the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and is a two-time winner of the Bert Bell Award.
Aside from the awards, the retired quarterback also holds 22 NFL records. He holds the Most AP NFL MVP Awards, most consecutive games with at least four touchdown passes, and he is the only quarterback with at least six touchdown passes in three games.
Following his performance with the Colts and years of service, the franchise retired his jersey number #18. He has since been inducted into the franchise’s Ring of Honor, and there is a bronze statue of him outside of the Lucas Oil Stadium.
Peyton Manning Made More Than $240 Million in the NFL
Quarterbacks have the highest earning power in the NFL. So, it comes as no surprise that Peyton Manning, who was one of the best to play the position, made more than $240 million during his 18 seasons as a player.
According to Sportrac, Manning made $248,732,000 from eight signed contracts. His biggest contract was a five-year $96 million deal he signed with the Broncos when he joined in March 2012. His $248.7 million total earnings puts him at #1 on the all-time career earnings in NFL history. His brother, Eli, follows closely behind him with $235.2 million. These earnings, combined with astute business moves that include him owning 21 Papa John’s Pizza stores, have made Peyton a very rich man.
According to various wealth calculating websites, the retired quarterback has an estimated net worth of $250 million. It is a figure that puts him among the top three richest NFL players in history, active or retired. The first two? Al Davis and Roger Staubach, with $500 million and $600 million net worths, respectively.
He Has Kept Things Simple Since Retiring
During his retirement announcement, reporters asked Peyton Manning what he intended to do after. He claimed he had not ruled anything out. He was open to joining the broadcast booth or following another NFL legend, Elway, into the business side of the sport.
However, since his retirement, Manning has done a few of those things, with little commitment to either of them. Most notably, he is focused on the PeyBack Foundation, a charity he founded shortly after starting his NFL career. The foundation focuses on helping disadvantaged kids, with a mission footprint primarily targeted to Tennessee, Indiana, and Louisiana.
Peyton Manning has continued his media work as one of the most marketable faces of the NFL. He has appeared in several commercials for major NFL sponsors. As part of his connection to football, he launched a docuseries, Peyton’s Places, in 2019. The docuseries, where he interviews other notable players and coaches in the history of football, has received Emmy nominations.
As for a possible career in broadcasting, just as in 2016, Peyton is keeping his options open. He recently turned down an offer from ESPN for the 2020 season.
Peyton Manning Married the Girl-Next-Door
The NFL star is happily married to Ashley Thompson, who graduated from the University of Virginia. The pair, who were next-door neighbors, got acquainted when Ashley’s parents introduced her to Manning before he enrolled in college.
In 2001, the two of them tied the knot on St. Patrick’s Day. They have gone ahead to welcome twins, a boy and a girl named Marshal Williams and Mosley Thompson, born on March 31, 2011.
Ashley, who keeps a lowkey profile compared to her husband, has fashioned a successful career as a real estate developer. She has a real estate development company through which she has built houses in Tennessee and marketed residential development properties in Indianapolis.
Ashley Manning is also a co-founder of the PeyBack Foundation and is a sports team owner. She is a big fan of her hometown’s sports teams, and in 2012, she bought a minority stake in the Memphis Grizzlies.