Here is my letter to Peyton Manning. I sure hope he receives it.
It was painful to watch your farewell press conference after being released by the Indianapolis Colts; the way your voice cracked, quivered, and nervously tried to stay strong in easily one of the most difficult moments of your professional career.
You were such a natural throwback to Johnny Unitas, it will be strange indeed not seeing you suit up in that historic Colt uniform anymore.
While you were struggling to deliver that moving speech, practically your entire career flashed before my mind: being picked number one in the 1998 NFL draft by the Colts, leading them to seven AFC South division championships, two AFC championships, a Super Bowl championship (2006) in which you were named MVP, a record four league MVP awards and 11 4,000-yard passing seasons.
You didn't have to be a Colt fan to appreciate the profound sense of class you brought to the game, the enjoyment you bestowed on countless passionate football fans watching you drive your team down the field with the precision of a principal conductor of an orchestra, all while exhibiting the competiveness of a roaring lion out to devour his opponents.
So now you begin what will likely be the final chapter of your celebrated career with the Denver Broncos. I’m sure the decision wasn’t an easy one: you had several suitors all waiting with open arms, just waiting to hear you say yes. In the end, you settled on the Broncos, where you will come to a meeting of the minds, to be sure, with one of greatest comeback kids and skilled maestros of the two-minute drill the game has ever seen: John Elway, your new Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Denver Broncos.
Only time will tell what the future holds, but it looks to me you made the right choice; though before deciding, you probably agonized quite a bit, tossed and turned in bed and at night before deciding to take your talents to the Mile-High City.
All the best to you in the upcoming season. You can take heart in knowing fans of all stripes and persuasions (even your legion of fans from Indianapolis) will be pulling for you.
In order to help prepare for your new home, I thought I would point out a few facts, figures and historic nuggets about Denver that you might not be aware of.
Facts about Denver
• Denver is the Mile High City, located exactly 5280 feet above sea level.
• In the rarefied air a mile above sea level, footballs travel 10 percent farther.
• Denver was the home to the Unsinkable Molly Brown, heroine of the Titanic; her home is now a historic house museum.
• Sports Authority Field at Mile High and the Pepsi Center are both close to the location where Denver was first founded (in 1858)- the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek.
• American novelist and beat poet, Jack Kerouac wrote portions of ``On the Road’’ in Denver, which was the home town of his friend Neil Cassidy.
• Colfax Avenue is the longest continuous street in the country, stretching approximately 26 miles.
• Denver has 300 days of annual sunshine, which is known for its mild, dry and sunny climate with more annual hours of sun than San Diego or Miami Beach.
• Denver’s diversity is celebrated at numerous festivals and events, including the nation’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration and the largest Martin Luther King Jr. march and rally, referred to local residents as a “marade”
• Denver and Philadelphia are the only two U.S. cities to have seven professional sports teams. In Denver, there are the NFL Denver Broncos; NBA Denver Nuggets; NHL Colorado Avalanche; MLB Colorado Rockies; MLS Colorado Rapids; MLL Colorado Outlaws; and NLL Colorado Mammoth.
• The Denver Broncos have sold out every game for more than 20 years.
• Denver’s Great American Beer Festival is the largest in the nation, with more than 1,900 different beers.
• The 13th step on the west side of the State Capitol Building is exactly 5,280 feet above sea level and oddly enough, exactly one mile high.
• In Denver’s rarified air, golf balls go 10 percent farther.
• The sun feels warmer, because you are closer to it and there is 25 percent less protection from the sun, so remember Peyton, sunscreen is a must.
• Experts tell us the Mile High City is extremely dry, so Peyton it is a good idea to drink more water than usual. With less water vapor in the air at this altitude, the sky really is bluer in Colorado.
• Denver has the 10th largest downtown in the United States.
• Within just a one mile radius, there are three sports stadiums, the country’s second largest performing arts complex, an assortment of art and history museums, a mint producing 10 billion coins a year, a river offering whitewater rafting, the country’s only downtown amusement park, a new world-class aquarium, more than 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 300 restaurants, brewpubs and music clubs.
• Denver has more than 200 parks within the city and 14,000 acres of parks in the nearby mountains, including spectacular Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The city has its own buffalo herd located in the mountains with a panoramic view.
• There are more than 800 miles of off-street bike paths, 90 golf courses and one of the nation’s largest urban trail systems.
• Due to the variety of recreational opportunities, a federal study found that Denver has the thinnest residents of any major U.S. city.
• The 1980's smash television hit ``Dynasty’’, starring Joan Collins, Linda Evans, and John Forsythe was set in Denver, Colorado.
March 19, 2012
Source: Historic Denver, Inc; Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau.