The Indianapolis Colts unveil a statue of Peyton Manning on Saturday in front of Lucas Oil Stadium ahead of future Hall of Famer’s enshrinement in the team’s Ring of Honor and the retiring of No. 18.
On Friday, “Stokley & Zach” co-host and long-time friend and teammate of Peyton Manning Brandon Stokley, who’ll help to honor Manning this weekend, shared his favorite moment with this quarterback in Indianapolis.
“We had so many (memories),” Stokley said. “It was such a special time. Career-wise, obviously, those were my best years were there with him.:
His favorite, though, catching Manning’s record-breaking 49th passing touchdown in the 2004 season, which toppled the 48-touchdown mark set by Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino.
It’s an especially memorable moment, however, because of how Manning went full-on playground football with Stokley.
“We kind of muddle huddled. We didn’t huddle, but I usually would go back to him and he would give me the play or what it might be. And then I would give it out to the outside receiver.
“So I went in close to him, and he said, ‘I’m going to give you the smash signal,’ which is a fist on an open palm. You just kind of hit it together. That’s the universal NFL signal for a smash route, which is a hitch by the outside guy and a corner route by the inside guy. And that’s universal. So defensive backs know that.
“So, he said, ‘I’m going to give you that, but I want you to run a corner post.’ So, instead of me running the corner, I run the post. This is a play that we worked on, I don’t know, a couple of times all year, and that’s really it. So, I’m like, alright, perfect. Boom. And (we) dialed it up and ran it, and it just worked to perfection.
“At that moment, he drew something up in the dirt, wasn’t in the game plan and we worked on it maybe a couple of times throughout the course of the year, and it wasn’t something that we were preparing to use that game. And he just came up with it — I don’t know how — during the drive. It was perfect. It worked to perfection.
“We scored the 49th touchdown, we break Marino’s record, and we go on to win that football game. We had to make a two-point conversion to tie them, and we go to overtime and we win the game.
“That, to me, kind of sums up Peyton Manning. That was really just a cool play to be a part of.”
Here’s the play:
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