CANTON, Ohio — NOTE: The above video is from a 13News exclusive with Peyton Manning as he looks back on the Colts and Indianapolis as he prepares for Hall of Fame induction.
Indianapolis Colts legend Peyton Manning joined an elite group of the greatest footballers of all time Sunday when he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Peyton was selected for enshrinement in his first year of eligibility. He was enshrined Sunday night along with the other members of the Class of 2021: Charles Woodson, Calvin Johnson, Faneca, John Lynch, Tom Flores, Drew Pearson and Bill Nunn.
While in Canton, Peyton was reunited with many of his former teammates and coaches who he worked with to turn around the Colts franchise.
"To be reunited with Marvin, Tony, Bill, Marshal Faulk, to be going in on the same weekend as Edgerrin James," Peyton said. "He's maybe my favorite teammate of all time. It's really cool."
Peyton was drafted by the Colts in 1998. This was the year football began its transition from an afterthought in Indy to a highly anticipated time of year. No longer was Indianapolis just a basketball and racing town. It was more than that — it became the full package with high-energy sports celebrated year-round.
In the words of the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton "gave this city something to believe in."
Peyton's first season was a long one. The Colts won three games that season. The next season, things began to look up.
In 1999, Edgerrin James was drafted. Many deemed Edgerrin questionable as a first-round draft pick, but during his seven seasons with the Colts, "Edge" became the best rusher the team has ever seen.
Between 1999 and 2005, Manning, Edgerrin, and plenty of other talent within the Colts organization enjoyed six seasons with 10 or more wins. Plus, the Colts won four division titles.
During his illustrious career, Peyton threw for nearly 72,000 yards and 539 touchdowns, which included a pair of Super Bowl wins.
He brought the Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis with a win in Super Bowl XLI in 2007, then closed his career by winning Super Bowl 50 in 2016 for the Denver Broncos.
A look back at Peyton Manning's legendary career in the NFL
Peyton created a legacy in Indianapolis that goes far beyond football and lives on at the children's hospital that bears his name.
Even before Peyton Manning Children's Hospital | St. Vincent Indianapolis opened in 2003, Peyton visited pediatric patients at the Ascension St. Vincent Hospital.
Peyton Manning Children's Hospital is celebrating 18 years of the special relationship with the Colts-now-hall-of-fame-number-18 quarterback. The hospital has grown to include 46 private inpatient rooms, 23 pediatric intensive care unit beds and a 17-bed dedicated Pediatric Emergency Department. The 97-bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is the largest in the state of Indiana.
Since 2008, Peyton and his wife, Ashley, have served as the honorary chairs for the annual Celebration for Caring Gala, which has raised over $14 million to support patients and programs at Peyton Manning Children's Hospital. Peyton secures a top country music artist every year for the event, donates items and experiences to auction, and is hands-on with the planning.
Peyton continues to visit the hospital, engaging with patients and their families without seeking attention or acknowledgement. He also makes numerous patient phone calls and videos. Peyton hosts a holiday party each year for patients, families and hospital workers.
Both Peyton and Edge were enshrined over the weekend. Edge joined the class of 2020 and Peyton the class of 2021.
Hall of Fame Centennial Class, Class of 2021 receive gold jackets ahead of Hall of Fame enshrinement