Bethea: Peyton Manning “for sure” a first-ballot Hall of Famer

Peyton Manning is “a GOAT of the game,” former NFL safety Antoine Bethea says, and he’ll be in the Hall of Fame in 2021

January 08, 2021 - 8:55 am
Peyton Manning Colts

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Peyton Manning was named a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, and – spoiler alert – he’s probably headed to Canton.

In 2021.

“For sure first-ballot Hall of Famer, a GOAT of the game,” former NFL safety Antoine Bethea said on JR SportBrief. “Being able to witness it from practice to the games, man, it was unbelievable. Just the business aspect of it, just the way he approached the game – he wanted to be perfect Monday through Saturday, and obviously it showed on Sunday, the way he held his teammates accountable, the way he held his coaches accountable.”

Bethea, 38, played for the Indianapolis Colts from 2006 to 2013, winning a Super Bowl in his rookie season. He thoroughly enjoyed playing for Tony Dungy, who is in the Hall of Fame, and playing with Marvin Harrison, who is in the Hall of Fame, and Reggie Wayne, who is a finalist.

“Those guys [set] that bar so high for people that’s coming into that organization and [pushed] us and [challenged] us to play up to their [expectations],” Bethea said. 

Manning, the No. 1 overall pick in 1998, played 18 NFL seasons and won two Super Bowls – one with the Colts and one with the Denver Broncos. 

A five-time MVP, Manning retired as the NFL record-holder in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940), single-season passing touchdowns (55), single-season passing yards (5,477), total wins (201, including playoffs), game-winning drives (56), and comeback wins (45).

“Again, a pro’s pro, first-ballot Hall of Famer, no question – one of the best to ever do it, man,” Bethea said. “Just to watch him do it day in and day out, week in and week out, it was amazing.”