Top 10 moments of Peyton Manning’s career

Peyton Manning hoists the Lombardi Trophy after the Denver Broncos' Super Bowl 50 win. 

Mark J. Rebilas/Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to encapsulate a career that has amassed two Super Bowl titles, an unprecedented five MVP awards and a record 71,940 passing yards over an 18 NFL years.

Here are the top moments of Peyton Manning’s storied quarterback’s tenure, both on and off the field: 

1. Super Bowl 50

It’s almost like it was destiny. After Peyton Manning’s worst season in his entire 18-year NFL career; after being benched for throwing four interceptions in a game; after sitting out six games because of injury; Manning gets off the bench to lead his team through the playoffs to earn his second Super Bowl ring. True, the defense carried the Broncos’ 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers and Manning only recorded 141 yards with zero touchdowns and one interceptions, but at the end of the day, he still got the storybook ending of going out on top.

2. Spend time with your kids …

The world thought Peyton Manning was a great role model for kids…until 2007, when Saturday Night Live uncovered his PSA for the United Way. Watch the spoof here.

3. One more year

After his junior year at the University of Tennessee, Peyton Manning was already a local hero. But on March 5, 1997, Manning became a local legend when he announced he would return to the university for his senior season:

Manning would proceed to lead the Vols to an SEC Championship and an appearance in the Orange Bowl. He came in second in voting for the Heisman Trophy and finished his career breaking 42 NCAA, SEC and Volunteer records. The university retired his number in 2005.

4. The records

In November 2015, Manning passed Brett Favre’s NFL record of all-time career passing yards, just one of many records Manning has broken in his 18-year career. Other records Manning owns include career touchdown passes, single-season touchdowns, most passing yards in a season, most touchdowns in a single game, most consecutive seasons with 25 or more touchdowns and most games with a perfect passing record. Oh, and most interceptions by a rookie in a single season.

5. Return to Indy

As sports fans, we know what a franchise player means — not only to the team, but to the city as well. Peyton Manning was Indianapolis’ guy for 14 seasons, and thought he was going to retire a Colt. But following a neck surgery that made him miss the entire 2011 season, the Colts made the decision to cut him. In 2013, Manning returned to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time since signing with the Denver Broncos. And there was no love lost between them. The Colts organization honored Manning with a tribute video and the fans gave him a moving standing ovation for a minute and a half before the game. Watch the moment here.

6. The commercials

Chances are not a day goes by during football season when sports fans don’t see Peyton Manning on their TV screens. From "Cut that meat!" to "Chicken parm, you taste so good," Manning has been in some classic advertising spots over the years. In October 2012, Manning purchased 21 Denver-area Papa Johns pizzerias, which naturally meant Manning would be starring in even more ad spots.

7. Super Bowl XLI

Peyton Manning was drafted by Indianapolis in 1998, and in February of 2007, he gave the city its second Super Bowl title when the Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17. Manning recorded 247 yards and one touchdown in his first Super Bowl appearance in route to nabbing the game MVP.

8. Leading the band

Manning not only set new records while attending the University of Tennessee, he also started new traditions. After the Vols beat Alabama in 1997, Manning climbed the ladder on the sidelines to lead the Pride of the Southland Band in a rendition of "Rocky Top." The moment was an instant hit:

Now, after big Volunteer wins, a member of the team (or coach) climbs up the ladder to lead the band in the infamous song:

9. The fans

Peyton Manning is good to his fans. He spent three months tracking down fans living in North Pole, Alaska. He flew a dying fan and her husband to Denver to watch him play. He’s surprised local schools and written personal letters. He’s even replied to wedding invitations.

10. Do a little dance

You can take the man out of Rocky Top, but you’ll never take the Rocky Top out of the man. During a July practice in 2014, the unofficial fight song of the Tennessee Volunteers was blasted over the loudspeakers. So naturally Manning broke out in a little dance to honor his alma mater. And it was beautiful.