Peyton Manning punches ticket to Canton, tops 2021 Hall of Fame class


Peyton Manning joins Charles Woodson, and three other modern-era players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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NEW ORLEANS — And just like that, New Orleans native and 1993 Gatorade National Player of the Year, Peyton Manning, has undeniably made his way from Isidore Newman to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL’s only five-time league MVP joins fellow inductees Charles Woodson, Alan Faneca, Calvin Johnson and John Lynch at the 10th annual NFL Honors event held virtually inside the Straz Center at Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Fla.

Woodson (University of Michigan) beat out Manning (University of Tennesse) for the 1997 Heisman Trophy, before Manning would go on to lead the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Bronces to two Super Bowl appearances apiece, winning won with each.

Woodson won a league championship ring of his won with the Green Bay Packers in 2011.

“As a family we are certainly excited,” father Archie Manning told WGNO sports director Ed Daniels in a sit-down chat. “We’re proud, and I hope New Orleans is proud of Peyton. I think they are.

“I know he didn’t go to LSU and he didn’t play for the Saints, but he loves his hometown and he’s been good to his hometown. He really has.”

New Orleans-born Faneca becomes the sixth Hall of Fame inductee from LSU, joining Kevin Mawae (2019), Johnny Robinson (2019), Jim Taylor (1976), Y.A. Tittle (1971) and Steve Van Buren (1965).

Of the 10 finalists not selected, the late Sam Mills was one of them.

The longtime Saints linebacker, who ended his career with the Carolina Panthers before eventually succumbing to intestinal cancer in 2005, has been eligible for the HOF the past 19 years.

This is only the second time the “Field Mouse” has been included among the 15 modern-era finalists.

One of Manning’s favorite targets in Indianapolis, Reggie Wayne also missed out for the second year in a row. The fellow New Orleans native and John Ehret alum caught 67 of Manning’s 539 career touchdowns.

Only 2016 Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison has caught more of Manning’s TD passes (112).

Only five modern-day players can be inducted per class, and the finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall’s Selection Committee from a list of 130 nominees named in September that was reduced to 25 Semifinalists on Nov. 24.

The 2021 modern-era player finalists with their positions, years and teams:

  • Jared Allen, Defensive End – 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
  • Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety – 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)
  • LeRoy Butler, Safety – 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
  • *Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
  • Torry Holt, Wide Receiver – 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
  • *Calvin Johnson, Wide Receiver – 2007-2015 Detroit Lions
  • *John Lynch, Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
  • *Peyton Manning, Quarterback – 1998-2011 Indianapolis Colts (injured reserved 2011), 2012-15 Denver Broncos
  • Clay Matthews, Linebacker – 1978-1993 Cleveland Browns, 1994-96 Atlanta Falcons
  • Sam Mills, Linebacker – 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
  • Richard Seymour, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle – 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
  • Zach Thomas, Linebacker – 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
  • Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver – 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
  • *Charles Woodson, Cornerback/Safety – 1998-2005, 2013-15 Oakland Raiders, 2006-2012 Green Bay Packers

*Denotes Class of 2021 inductee

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