It's hard to put into words the impact Peyton Manning has had, not just on the sports scene in Indianapolis but in elevating the status of the city.
“I'm good at throwing the football. And every time I throw the football, I think about him,” said Shawn Bailey of Indianapolis.
About Peyton Manning. A role model and inspiration.
"Just his personality. He's hard-working, everything about him," said Trey Butler, still out of breath from running a play. "He comes from Indy. This is my hometown. He's pretty much part of the family."
That part of the family who has made an indelible impression.
“We have a reputation world-wide for hosting and executing sporting events and Peyton was a big part of building that,” said Allison Melangton, who headed the Indiana Sports Corporation and led the effort that landed the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis. “I don't believe we would have won the bid for 2012 without Peyton,” said Melangton.
It started back at the old RCA Dome where seats were hard to find thanks to Manning and the Indianapolis Colts winning games and consistently playing to sold out crowds. That generated enough support to come up with a plan to finance and build a new, state-of-the-art stadium and in 2008, Lucas Oil Stadium opened its doors.
That, then, paved the way for winning the bid for the 2012 Super Bowl - again, selling out games and hosting tens of thousands of fans in downtown Indianapolis.
"We had to have that reputation and the ability to execute at a really high level events at Lucas Oil Stadium, and the only way you can execute events at a high level is when you rehearse and practice them over and over again," explained Melangton. "So with Peyton being able to fill the house at Lucas Oil Stadium, enabled us to do that."
For many, the 2012 Super Bowl put Indianapolis on the map nationally -- even internationally. It gave the city an edge at attracting conventions, many of which are now hosted at Lucas Oil, along with concerts and other events on top of football games. All of it thanks to Peyton Manning spending the bulk of his career right here in Indy.
And right here in Indy, his legacy lives on.
"Wherever he goes, he's like an inspiration to everybody and I want to follow in his footsteps,” said Cash Henry of Indianapolis.