To prepare for Peyton Manning‘s return to Indianapolis, the Colts‘ stadium operations department went so far as to research the return of other great athletes in all sports to their former cities, sources close to the team told ESPN.
The one that stood out to the Colts was Wayne Gretzky’s return to Edmonton on Oct. 20, 1988, just two months after the Oilers traded him to the Kings. Now Manning is returning to Indianapolis to play the Colts 25 years to the day that Gretzky returned to his former city. Edmonton fans gave Gretzky a four-minute standing ovation. It went on and on, on a night when the Oilers arena was filled with welcome back Gretzky banners, the way the Colts stadium is expected to be Sunday night.
Studying how the Oilers handled it, the Colts are prepared to let the moment freeze tonight, but they don’t want it to linger too long and are prepared to cut it off if it does. The Colts also do not plan to introduce Manning as the former Colts quarterback nor the current Broncos quarterback but rather, simply, “four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning.”
- ESPN NFL Insider
- Joined ESPN in 2009
- Former president of the Pro Football Writers of America and the author of four books