For football fans across Tennessee and beyond, Peyton Manning is more than just an incredible player. Nearly all fans agreed that he deserved a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They celebrated when he finally entered it Saturday night.
Manning earned the honor on his first nomination — he was one of four players to be named a modern-era finalist during their first year of eligibility this season. He is already a member of the College Football Hall of Fame as well as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
His philanthropy has helped inspire students at the University of Tennessee, where he played from 1994-1997, setting 42 NCAA, SEC and Tennessee records in the process. He donated meals to frontline responders during the COVID-19 pandemic and has worked to improve the Knoxville community.
A Cumberland Avenue hotel even opened a watering hole that honors Peyton Manning and the Vols. His impact on his fans is immeasurable, and that could be seen in their reactions after he was named into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021.
Tennessee football celebrated Manning's arrival at the Hall of Fame, saying that "destiny becomes reality."
Manning's career at Tennessee has yet to be duplicated by another Volunteer quarterback. Manning played from 1994-1997, setting 42 NCAA, SEC and Tennessee records in the process. In 1997, Manning was named the Maxwell Award winner, the Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award winner, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award winner, Player of the Year and All-American.
Some of Manning's teammates also shared what it was like to play with the legend in a post on the Denver Bronco's Twitter account.
"When you get a bust made of you, you're living forever," said DeMarcus Ware, a player for the Denver Broncos between 2014 - 2016. "Peyton deserves that. He was, to me, the best to have done it. I got to play with him, and I got to play against him."