Denver Broncos | News

'It was quite a thrill': Steve Atwater, Peyton Manning & John Lynch celebrate receiving gold jackets

The Broncos trio of Steve Atwater, Peyton Manning, John Lynch and Steve Atwater are one step closer to being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as they received their gold jackers on Friday.

CANTON, Ohio — After a wait of more than a year, Steve Atwater was officially presented with his gold jacket on Friday night.

And while the ceremony was a bit delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn't any less special for the Pro Football Hall of Fame safety.

"It felt amazing," Atwater said after former teammate Dennis Smith helped him slip on the jacket. "It was a little bit of a wait from last year. … Got a chance to wear it pretty much all night. It was awesome. A lot of my friends and family and all you guys, you all got a chance to touch it and see what kind of thread it's made of. It was beautiful."

Atwater, a member of the Hall of Fame's Class of 2020, wasn't the only Bronco to receive his gold jacket.

Quarterback Peyton Manning and safety John Lynch, who were both elected in February to the Hall of Fame, also savored the celebration.

"It was a great honor obviously to have my dad present it to me and to kind of join this special fraternity," Manning said Saturday. "It was quite a thrill."

Manning's father, Archie, will also present him for enshrinement on Sunday evening.

"That was just a great thrill," Archie Manning said of the jacket ceremony. "I just never envisioned I'd have the opportunity to do that, and just the whole setting here in Canton, the whole experience to see it and be able to put that on Peyton, I'll cherish that moment forever."

The ceremony must have been particularly sweet for Lynch, who was an eight-time finalist before finally getting the nod from the Hall of Fame selection committee this year.

"I can't even put it into words," Lynch said. "Steve and I talked about this … you almost convince yourself that it won't really change who you are. And it doesn't change who you are, but it's sure a great feeling."

While Lynch will have his son present him for enshrinement on Sunday night, he also shared the moment Friday night with his father.

"So special to share [that] with my dad," Lynch said. "Picking your presenter is always a tough deal. I picked my son. My son's in training camp at Stanford, so [he] won't be here until Saturday night, so what a better way to include my son but also include my dad. It was such privilege to have him up there. He's so responsible. He was such a good dad. My mom was so good. Just loving me, but also having very high expectations and trying to bring the best out of all my siblings. I'm so thankful and so blessed to have them as parents."

As Atwater prepared for his enshrinement on Saturday evening, the moment still didn't quite feel real.

"It is a dream," Atwater said. "I'm still living the dream right now."

Related Content