New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning narrated this touching tribute to his brother, Peyton who announced his retirement on Monday after an amazing 19-year, 18 season career that will land him in Canton via a first ballot.
Here’s what Eli had to say in the video, but the words are better in his voice with moving pictures of a fascinating football hero who’s great NFL career is over a few weeks before his 40th birthday on March 24:
“People always say we were raised on the game, that we come from a football family. That’s true. But maybe it would be better to change the order of those words. It’s family and then football. Because at some point for all of us, football ends. For my brother Peyton, its ending now.
“It’s hard to describe what he’s poured into the game for all these years — his heart, his will, his mind, his body. Maybe it’s easier to measure what’s poured out. Playing season after season, it’s always the next play, the next series, the next drive. Quarterbacks don’t usually look back, but when I do, brother, what a career.
“Sure there are the numbers and the records, and they are incredible. The most touchdown passes in a season. The most in a career. The most wins as a starting quarterback and the most games with a perfect passer rating. The Super Bowl MVP. The Pro Bowl MVP. The most MVPs in league history.
“But the records and the awards don’t define his story or explain his passion. That’s found in all the hours only a handful of us could see, and the pain that he withstood, and the setbacks he suffered, and the surgeries he endured.
“It’s not just in the calls he changed or the reads he made. It’s in the bonds he built with the players in the locker room and the players in the meeting rooms and the fans in the cities. Those were also his families, and the ones who don’t share our last name but share our life’s passion.
“It’s in the standard that he set in his competitiveness, but also in his graciousness, with work ethic but also his humor. He was a professional, but always found time to be personal. Maybe that’s why people always connect with him as more than a player.
“As he leaves the field for the final time, it’s not for me to say what Peyton’s legacy is or where his career stands or what it all means. Others can do that. I know what he means to me. And I have a strong feeling I know where he’s going sometime in the future. No, it’s not to Omaha. It’s to Ohio in a shrine in Canton. There, a new family in gold jackets will be waiting for him. Until then, brother, thanks to what you gave to the game.”