This Sunday, the city of Indianapolis is poised to celebrate its own brand of homecoming with the return of former franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. Since his rookie season in 1998, “Peyton” has been a household name throughout the National Football League, most revered by hometown fans of the Indianapolis Colts.
During a lengthy career, Manning spent 14 seasons with the Colts, 11 of which earned a playoff berth. This time, however, the quarterback comes to challenge Indianapolis in a new uniform. In his second season with the Denver Broncos, this week’s competition marks the first time that Manning has returned to Indianapolis since he took the field for his new team in 2012. Manning left in 2011 after sustaining a neck injury.
Despite being 37 years old, Manning does not return with the game-play appearance of an aged player. After only six games, the quarterback has thrown for 2,000 yards and racked up 22 touchdowns in a season that has rivaled (or out-performed) many seasons from his heyday. Even further, Manning returns bearing the presence of an undefeated Denver Bronco’s roster that leads the NFL in points per game, pass yards and total offense. The game should prove to be a significant challenge for the 4-2, Andrew Luck-led Colts.
Amidst the surreal nature of seeing a franchise great compete against the team in which he spent most of his career, is talk of a warm reception planned for Manning upon his return. The owner of the Colts, Jim Irsay, has stated publically that a pre-game tribute will be arranged to mark the return of the great.