Peyton Manning has a reputation for being one of the funniest players in the NFL. He didn’t disappoint with his Hall of Fame Hall of Fame speech Sunday night as he sang to some of the NFL greats during their big time.
Manning began his speech by denouncing the NFL’s decision to limit the time for speeches by new members. Manning specifically went after Ray Lewis, whose 2018 Hall of Fame speech lasted half an hour.
MORE: Complete List of 2021 Hall of Fame Members
“The induction class of 2021 wants to thank the past members who gave long acceptance speeches, forcing us to have a whopping six minutes to recap our soccer careers,” Manning said. “I want to especially thank my old rival Ray Lewis for being here tonight. Ray just finished giving his speech that started in 2018.”
That joke was greeted with laughter by the audience. So was Tom Brady’s Manning screeching, who attended the consecration ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
“Speaking of rivals, my good friend Tom Brady is here tonight,” Manning said. A chorus of boos fell on Brady. “By the time Tom Brady enters his first year of eligibility in 2035, he will only have time to post his acceptance speech on his Instagram account.”
The jokes were the perfect way for Manning to start his speech. After that, he got a lot more serious.
MORE: Cowboys ‘are cautious’ on Dak Prescott as he returns from a single injury
Manning choked on talking about how much his family means to him. He mentioned his mother, Olivia; brothers Cooper and Eli, wife Ashley and sons Marshall and Mosley. But her main focus was on her relationship with her father, Archie.
“Soccer made a place for my favorite quarterback, my hero, my role model, my father, Archie Manning, to pass on something he loves to me,” said Peyton Manning. “There is no one whom I would rather have or be more appropriate than you to welcome me onto the stage.”
Archie was Peyton’s host and joined him on stage before the speech to reveal the bust of the young Manning who will live forever in the Hall of Fame.
Peyton Manning was grateful for that moment. He also expressed his gratitude for the opportunities that soccer has provided him and hopes that those opportunities will be available to all. He said he will work to “cultivate the game” and ensure the NFL can continue to prosper in the future.
“Over the past few years, soccer has been challenged by an explosion of sports and entertainment options, security concerns, erupting social justice issues and a global pandemic,” Manning said. ‘Displaced fans’ has taken on a whole new meaning as our stadiums have been closed and fans excluded. We certainly shouldn’t walk away now.
“When we leave this stage tonight, it is no longer about us. It is about cultivating the game that has given us so much. It is about nurturing football to live and prosper another day, another year, a decade and another generation.”