Right from the start of his 18-year NFL career, Peyton Manning was a huge star. As we've seen with countless sports celebrities that came before and after him, it's difficult to stay humble when enormous fame follows your every step. Except for the swirl of controversy that plagued his final season, though, the quarterback largely backed up the positive image he crafted in the spotlight with his actions outside of it.
In a new ad from Gatorade, Manning's personal touch in his communication with those he revered is brought to the surface. Coaches, teammates, friends, family, and even fans read out handwritten notes that the legend sent them over the years. Among them are his dad, Archie, and brother, Eli; teammates from Indianapolis, Denver, and both; and even a fan who received a letter from Manning when her son passed away.
It's a touching post-retirement tribute to a man who clearly went the extra mile when he wanted to show respect to someone he cared about. Clearly he isn't perfect and has made his share of mistakes, but that he so often took the time to write — actually write — notes to people who have supported him is a testament to his character.
By the looks of the recipients of those letters, the gesture never went unnoticed.