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I Will Miss “OMAHA!”

Peyton Manning Says GoodbyeHe knew it. We all knew it. But, Peyton Manning was too classy to make his team’s championship moment about him. No … he waited until nearly the last minute possible to announce he was taking that proverbial stroll into the sunset on his brilliant NFL career in order for his teammates, coaches, and organization to bask in the glory of the rare feat of becoming Super Bowl champion. Oh, I’m sure we could all name a player or two (dozen) that would have stolen the spotlight in their post-game interviews and taken center stage in the media circus. But, not this ring leader.
Nor should it be surprising that the ultimate on-field leader would take the high road off-field, as well. He has spent his entire career trying to deflect the well-deserved attention to others; like colleagues Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas; coaches Tony Dungy, John Fox, and Gary Kubiak; or even team owners Jim Irsay and Pat Bowlen. So, when it came time to answer whether the 50th edition of Super Sunday would be his last in the NFL, he decided to merely say he was going to enjoy the moment “with some Buds” (we can only hope that there may have been some Spicoliesque double entendre intended).
In a word, Peyton Manning is “class”. It’s been the mantra of the way he has handled himself his entire time in the limelight of football. No outrageous attitude, no sense of entitlement, no diva behavior (can’t say the same for his QB sibling). Yet, he dedicated himself completely to his craft, honing his gridiron IQ and skills to the very end. If one was to ever search for the penultimate blueprint for success, Peyton Manning’s work ethic, attitude, and approach should certainly be considered.
I will miss Peyton Manning. I will miss the example he set, not only for his fellow football player, but for every fan of the game. I will miss seeing his magician-like play-action fakes, his pinpoint passes under ponderous duress, and his artful last-second audibles. Most of all, I will miss, as the play clock winds down to it’s last few precious ticks, the loud yell of “The Sheriff” preparing the other ten for the impending snap: with the accent on the third syllable … “OMAHA!”