The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its 15 modern-era finalists for the Class of 2021 and former Indianapolis Colts all-time greats Peyton Manning (shocker!) and Reggie Wayne were among those selected:
It is Manning’s first year on the ballot, who is a lock if there ever was one, while Wayne is in his 2nd year of eligibility and has been a finalist both times.
It would be very cool for the Colts franchise if both were members of the Class of 2021—especially given the prolific passing connection the duo shared during their outstanding playing careers.
Of course, Manning is a man, who needs no introduction.
He was a 2x Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, 5x NFL MVP, 2x NFL Offensive Player of the Year, 7x First-Team All-Pro, 3x Second-Team All-Pro, and 14x Pro Bowler. He was a member of the NFL’s 2000s All-Decade Team, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and a Walter Payton Man of the Year Award recipient—among other accolades.
Manning was a 3x NFL passing yards leader, 4x NFL passing touchdowns leader, 2x NFL Completion leader, and 3x NFL passer rating leader.
During his 18 magical NFL seasons, Manning completed 6,125 of 9,380 passes (65.3%) for 71,940 passing yards, 539 touchdowns, 251 interceptions, and a passer rating of 96.5 in his 265 career starts with both the Indianapolis Colts (208) and Denver Broncos (57).
Manning ranks as follows all-time in NFL history: 3rd in passing yards (71,940), 4th in passes completed (6,125), 3rd in passing touchdowns (539), and 2nd All-Time in NFL Approximate Value of Careers (271) [similar to baseball’s WAR].
He’s the greatest player in Indianapolis Colts franchise history, as Lucas Oil is “the House that Manning built”, and arguably the best quarterback in NFL history (seriously, don’t @ me).
Meanwhile, Wayne was a Super Bowl Champion, First-Team All-Pro, 2x Second-Team All-Pro, 6x Pro Bowler, and NFL receiving yards leader.
In his 14-year NFL career—all with the Colts, Wayne had 1,070 receptions for 14,345 receiving yards (13.4 ypr. avg.) and 82 receiving touchdowns.
Wayne ranks 10th all-time in receptions (1,070) and receiving yards (14,345) respectively, as well as 25th (tied) for receiving touchdowns (82).
Always a fan favorite, ‘Reg-gie, Reg-gie’, Wayne was incredibly sure-handed, a precise route runner, ‘Mr. 3rd down’ to consistently move the sticks, and had a knack for making clutch catches—when the Colts needed them the most.
While Manning is a no brainer, Wayne will have to compete with fellow wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Tory Holt among this year’s fifteen modern-era finalists—although he deserves to eventually be enshrined regardless.
“[The] 15 finalists will be presented to the full 48-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee during its annual meeting on “Selection Saturday,” the day before Super Bowl LV. . . . Though there is no set number for any enshrinee class, the selection process by-laws provide that between four and eight new members will be selected. The Class of 2021 will be revealed during NFL Honors on Saturday, Feb. 6. ... The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021 will be enshrined Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021 in Canton, Ohio.”
Both Manning and Wayne could join former Colts teammate Edgerrin James in being immortalized in Canton, Ohio, on the same day—as James was a holdover from the Hall of Fame Class of 2020, whose enshrinement was postponed a year because of COVID-19.
That would be one heck of a Colts celebration. Hopefully, they all get a gold jacket!