As former Colts and Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning says goodbye to the NFL, Gatorade is honoring No. 18 with his own words.
During his Hall of Fame career, Manning sent numerous handwritten letters to coaches, teammates and fans for a variety of reasons. Gatorade took the sentiments from those letters, had the recipients read them and then combined them into one big “thank you” letter for Peyton.
The tribute is set to an instrumental version of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Good luck watching it without tearing up!
The video includes former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy along with former Colts teammates Jeff Saturday and Brandon Stokley. Saturday said he realized Peyton was a letter writer in training camp. Both he and Stokley joked that Peyton could spend some time working on his handwriting.
“I got this letter from Peyton right after I retired,” Stokley said. “It just means so much more, and it just shows you the type of person that he is.”
“I thought it was a pretty awesome thing that he thought so much of somebody to put a handwritten letter together for them,” Saturday said.
“(Peyton was usually) reaching out to his teammates, the fans, the staff. You can ask the equipment men. I guarantee you they’ve gotten letters from Peyton Manning,” Dungy said. “In my 31 years in the National Football League, I don’t think I’ve met anyone as thoughtful as Peyton Manning.”
Here are the people who participated in the #DearPeyton campaign:
- Tony Dungy – Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts head coach, 2002-2008; Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee; current NBC Analyst
- Jon Scott – Peyton’s friend and current Indianapolis Colts Vice President of Equipment Operations
- David Cutcliffe – Peyton’s quarterback coach at University of Tennessee, 1994-1997; current Duke Head Coach
- Pam Frenzel – Mother of Tyler Frenzel; Peyton befriended Tyler – diagnosed with leukemia – during a visit to the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis and remained in close contact with Tyler until his death in 2004 at age 9
- Jeff Saturday – Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts teammate, 1999-2011; NFL center, 1992-2012
- Eli Manning – Peyton’s brother; current New York Giants quarterback
- Demaryius Thomas – Peyton’s Denver Broncos teammate, 2013-2016; current Denver Broncos receiver
- Derek Jeter – Peyton’s friend; fellow Gatorade athlete; New York Yankees shortstop, 1995-2014
- Brandon Stokley – Peyton’s Indianapolis Colts and Broncos teammate, 2003-2006 and 2012 respectively; NFL receiver, 1999-2013
- Archie Manning – Peyton’s father; NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, 1971-1984
- Chris Mortensen – Peyton’s friend; current ESPN NFL analyst
- Brandon Washington – First recipient of PeyBack Foundation Scholarship; currently a graduate student at University of Indiana
The videos below give some background on Peyton’s letters from the people who read them: