Peyton Manning tweaks Ray Lewis, Tom Brady, speaks about the way forward for the NFL in an emotional Corridor of Fame speech
Peyton Manning is considered one of the funniest players in the NFL. He didn’t disappoint with his Pro Football Hall of Fame consolidation speech on Sunday night as he tweeted some of the NFL’s greats during his big moment.
Manning began his speech by calling on the NFL’s decision to limit newcomers’ speaking time. Manning specifically addressed Ray Lewis, whose 2018 Hall of Fame speech lasted half an hour.
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“The 2021 Introductory Course would like to thank the previous insiders who gave lengthy acceptance speeches and forced us to have a full six minutes to summarize our football careers,” said Manning. “I’d like to say a special thank you to my old rival Ray Lewis for being here tonight. Ray has just finished his speech, which he started in 2018.”
This joke was met with laughter from the audience. Also Manning’s twitter from Tom Brady who attended the dedication ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
“Speaking of rivals, my good friend Tom Brady is here tonight,” Manning said. A chorus of boos rained down on Brady. “Until Tom Brady is accepted into his first year of sponsorship in 2035, he will only have time to post his acceptance speech on his Instagram account.”
For Manning, the jokes were the perfect introduction to his speech. After that he got much more serious.
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Manning choked as he talked about how much his family means to him. He mentioned his mother, Olivia; Brothers Cooper and Eli, wife Ashley, and children Marshall and Mosley. However, his main focus was on his relationship with his father Archie.
“Football has created a place for my favorite quarterback, my hero, my role model, my father Archie Manning, to pass on to me something he loves,” said Peyton Manning. “There is no one I would rather have or be more suitable than you to welcome me on stage.”
Archie was Peyton’s host and accompanied him on stage before the speech to reveal the bust of the younger Manning who will live in the Hall of Fame forever.
Peyton Manning was grateful for this moment. He also thanked him for the opportunities football offers him and hopes these opportunities are available to everyone. He said he will work to “cultivate the game” and make sure the NFL can thrive long into the future.
“In recent years, football has been challenged by an explosion in sports and entertainment opportunities, safety concerns, erupting social justice issues and a global pandemic,” Manning said. “Displaced fans” took on a whole new meaning as our stadiums were closed and fans closed. There is no way we should go away now.
“When we leave this stage tonight, it’s not about us anymore. It’s about maintaining the game that has given us so much. It’s about promoting football, another day, another year, a decade and another generation to live and thrive. “