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A tribute to Peyton Manning, the quarterback of the ages

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

I understand that hero worship of professional athletes to some people isn’t valid, but I don’t care. On March 24, 1976 a football hero was born. On this day 43 years ago Peyton Williams Manning began his football career. Over his time on the gridiron, he would go on to break multiple records and play the game of football in a way no one else has since.

It didn’t hurt that Peyton Manning was born to NFL royalty. The always underrated Archie Manning nurtured all of his sons to be the best that they could be playing football. Later Peyton would become the savior of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 – a mediocre franchise heading nowhere. In short order, they would become the best, and in 2007, NFL champions.

In a town that mostly revolved around basketball, Manning revolutionized football and turned Indianapolis into a football town. Colts fans can remember Manning connecting downfield with Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne, with flawless accuracy. In fact, he executed near perfectly throughout his career and gave Colts fans exactly what they needed.

After 18 seasons in the NFL, Manning left behind a legacy that Colts fans will revere forever. 71,940 passing yards, 539 touchdowns five MVP awards and two Super Bowls are just some of Manning’s many accolades. But putting aside records, what made Manning the quarterback of the ages was his sheer intelligence, professionalism and tireless dedication. There was simply no one like him.

To honor who I think is the greatest quarterback of all time, I reached out to the Twittershpere to inquire as to what Manning meant to them. As I expected, he has changed the lives of many. Here are some of the best responses.

In his retirement speech Manning said, “When someone thoroughly exhausts an experience they can’t help but revere it. I revere football. I love the game.”

What Manning brought to Indianapolis, and to Colts fans, will never be forgotten. We revere you, Peyton. Thank you.