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When Peyton Manning left the Colts, it was a culture shock. It sent shock waves throughout the entire NFL. Everyone was asking what’s next for both the Colts and Peyton. Manning went on to win another Super Bowl, with the Broncos becoming the first quarterback to win one with two teams. When the Sheriff finally hung up the cleats, we as fans all knew this day would come. The clock was set for five years and had been ticking ever since. It’s here now. Peyton Manning, one of the greatest to ever sling the ball, is now forever being enshrined with the greats. Congrats 18. You did it. Multiple MVPs, records were shattered, Super Bowls were won, memories were made, and now you’re in the elite club of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It is because of Peyton that I am a diehard Colts fan. My love for the game started with watching the great Peyton Manning. Through the good and bad having Peyton always made things better. I cried when Peyton was let go by the Colts. I cried again when he won a Super Bowl with another team. And I’m going to cry again when he puts on that gold jacket and gives what’s going to be a fantastic speech. Thank you, Peyton, for being an inspiration on and off the field and showing the fans what it meant to be great. You’ve earned this.

It was because of Manning the Colts have Lucas Oil Stadium. Everything the shoe stands for started with Peyton. Before Peyton was a Colt, nobody knew Indianapolis for football. It was a basketball country, but Peyton put the Colts and the City on the map. Many of the Colts fans today are still Colts fans because of number 18. Peyton brought people together off the field. He United an entire community to come together for one team.

Peyton made the Colts relevant for years and continues to make them relevant even without playing for them. The Colts will forever be indebted to Peyton for everything he’s done for the organization. He’s been honored by the Colts with a statue and was inducted into the colts’ honor ring. And now Peyton’s face will forever be honored in Canton, Ohio, with the rest of the greats in the Hall of Fame. I couldn’t think of a more deserving player to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Peyton has earned this right by being one of the greatest ever for many years.

Today I raise my glass of Sweetens Cove Bourbon to you, Peyton, and your incredible Hall of Fame career as you officially enter and join the greats and be enshrined forever in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You will always be a Colt. Cheers and Congrats, Peyton.

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