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As Peyton Manning heads towards one of the biggest weekends of his life, one where he’s going to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he’s trying to keep his emotions balanced throughout the entire thing. With his dad, Archie Manning, set to induct him on Sunday, Peyton Manning will be the latest of the greatest QBs in NFL history to head to Canton forever. Heading into HOF weekend, Manning recently teamed with Michelob ULTRA to celebrate the joy that he found during his career with his coaches and teammates.

As Peyton explained to us when we talked to him this week, his career was all about that joy week in and week out. “I got a bunch of teammates and old coaches and support staff coming down to Canton to celebrate with me,” Manning said. “That’s what we’ll talk about, is the joyous times, and the fun times, and those memories.” 

We talked to Peyton about his induction into the Hall of Fame, upcoming Monday Night Football telecasts with Eli, his favorite young QBs, and more. 

What are your emotions going into this weekend? Have you done a lot of reflection on your career as you go into the Hall of Fame?
Well, look, I’m very humbled. I’m very honored. My dad’s going to introduce me, which I’m very excited about that and honored that he accepted the invitation. He’s had such a great impact on my football career. But I think going back to my earlier point, all the teammates and coaches and high school teammates and college buddies that are going to be there, everybody’s living all over the country, and businesses and families and kids. And so, to get all of these people together that have been an important part of my football journey, I’m excited about that. More than anything is seeing those people, but I’m very honored and humbled to join such a special fraternity.

Has there been one specific type of moment that you really look back on? That you were like, “Yes, this was kind of the pinnacle of my career.” 
Yeah. I mean, obviously, I think about getting drafted by the Indianapolis Colts, and what an exciting time that was. I mean, you’re moving to Indianapolis, and you’re starting your NFL career. You’re getting a brand new playbook, you’re meeting new coaches and teammates. I was excited to be drafted by Indianapolis Colts, to be a part of a turnaround there with guys like Edgerrin James, who’s going in on Saturday night, Marvin Harrison. So many guys that were a part of that turnaround. So, I think about that, and kind of where we started, and where we got to in Indianapolis.

And then in Denver, coming off that injury, Denver was very welcoming to me in sort of putting in a lot of the same plays that I ran with the Colts into the Broncos playbook. The fans were very embracing, and we still live in Denver today. So, I guess if I have to think about two significant moments, it’s those two. Kind of my first year in Indianapolis, and my first year in Denver coming off that injury, and what we were able to accomplish a few years later with another world championship.

So, with you and Eli, you’re going to be doing some broadcasting this year.
Yeah. I’m not sure we’re going to be broadcasting. I think we’ve got to be just talking while we’re watching the game. Like you are at a bar watching the game. 

I think that’s what people want.
Kind of be a fan, just like you, just be a fan of it, and have some fun watching the game, which is how I like to watch it now as opposed to studying film every single night.

How do you feel about the current class of QBs in the NFL? Are there any young guys you really like? 
Yeah. Look, I think the NFL is in good shape at the quarterback position. I mean, you certainly have the old guard, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers are better still doing their thing, which is so impressive. But Justin Herbert is a guy that jumps out as far as a new guy, that I’m excited to watch him play this year. I know for Broncos fans, that’s going to be a challenge having to face him twice a year along with Mahomes. The AFC West is a tough division now, especially facing those quarterbacks. But, Justin’s a guy that I’ve known since he was in college. He came down to our football camp. He stayed for a senior year, which was admirable. It doesn’t happen much these days. A lot of pressure and expectations on him going to the chargers. It’s still early, but to me, he’s off to a good start. Then, I think watching Matthew Stafford in his transition to the Rams, new chapter for him. The challenges that come with that expectations. But I can just tell by reading his interviews, he’s excited, and I’m looking forward to this new chapter.

I had the chance to interview your dad and Eli back during the Super Bowl, and Eli is really enjoying retirement. Is he enjoying retirement more than you did when you first started? And did you give him any tips on retirement?
We talked a little bit about just kind of some of the things that I did my first year out. Obviously, Eli’s first year out, we were dealing with the pandemic, so he didn’t get to do a lot of those things. And so, I think in many ways, he sort of pushed those bucket list things that he’s wanted to do to year two. He’s got some great tributes coming up. Ole Miss and the Giants are both going to have celebrations for him. He’s going to retire as number 10, which is awesome. Last year, he didn’t get to do that, because there were no fans there. So, hopefully, both of those ceremonies can be special and celebrated with fans. I mean, Eli’s had a good patience to this transition. I mean, he and I will have fun watching some football together this year on Monday nights. So, Eli’s got a good plan, I think, going forward.

Are you jealous of his Twitter account at all? Eli’s pretty good at Twitter.
Eli’s got some game, and I feel I’m a part of it. That I feel I’m a butt of a decent amount of his tweets, the jokes. All is fair game when your brother’s coming at your. Believe me, growing up in our family, you better learn to have thick skin. That’s important.

Talk to me about the Michelob ULTRA collaboration, and everything going on with this weekend with the Hall of Fame.
Yeah. Michelob ULTRA is kind of celebrating the joy and the fun part of playing sports. It’s not just the hard work, and the late-night film sessions, and early morning workouts and runs. It’s the joy. It’s the moments with your teammates, with your coaches, celebrating victories, the plane rides. Those are some of the memories that I think about, and that I thought about during this past few months of reflection, since I got the news about going into the Hall of Fame. I got a bunch of teammates and old coaches and support staff coming down to Canton to celebrate with me. That’s what we’ll talk about, is the joyous times, and the fun times, and those memories.

That’s what Michelob ULTRA is celebrating. It kind of created a smiling bust, a beer cap handle that fans can win one of those, if they go to a Michelob ULTRA’s social media post, and post a memory about me and my football career. There’ll be a few going to Tennessee, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Colorado, for sure, but fans around the country can win those. It really is true that you got to have a balance when you’re playing professional football. There’s a lot of hard work, no doubt about it. But if you don’t enjoy it, if you don’t have joy during the process, it’s really not worth it. And as I think about my career, those are some of the great memories that come up to me is the joyous times that I had with my teammates. I think my real Hall of Fame bust is going to be a little more stoic kind of game face, if you will. That’s certainly true. But there’s another side to it too, and that’s kind of a Michelob ULTRA to kind of celebrate.