As legendary former Broncos quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning joined his brother Eli for their first ManningCast "Monday Night Football" broadcast of 2022, the Super Bowl 50 champion took a moment to reflect on three legends of the game — John Madden, Dan Reeves and Demaryius Thomas — who recently passed away.
Along with Eli, Peyton reflected on both his personal relationships and the impact on the game that those three men made.
"We lost the great John Madden a few days ago — there was nobody like him, Eli," Peyton said. "I remember when he came to broadcast the first Colts game for me. It was a big deal when John Madden came to town. Nobody talked football like he did, nobody loved football more than he did. The NFL will certainly miss him."
Peyton also addressed the recent passing of his former teammate Thomas during the broadcast. Peyton won Super Bowl 50 with Thomas and remained close friends with his former wide receiver.
"I also lost a great teammate just a few weeks ago," Peyton said. "Demaryius Thomas was one of my closest friends on the Denver Broncos. Fearless teammate, competitor, tough — just a guy you want to play with and compete with. [He] cared about people's kids off the field, coaches' children. Really miss him, he was a special guy."
Peyton also spoke about Reeves, marveling at his accomplishments as both a player and a coach.
"That will never be done again — nine Super Bowls as a coach and a player," Peyton said. "May they all rest in peace."
Below the Fold
Following the slate of Week 17 games, Pro Football Focus graded each rookie selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Cornerback Pat Surtain II, selected at No. 9 overall in April, continues to shine through his rookie season. He earned a 69.7 overall grade from PFF for his Week 17 performance, which included two passes defensed in coverage of Chargers WR Keenan Allen.
Surtain has a 65.0 overall PFF grade for the season, the 12th-highest grade of rookies selected in the first round.
"Surtain was the most targeted Broncos defender this week against the Chargers, seeing eight passes thrown into his coverage," PFF's Sam Monson wrote. "He held up well, allowing five catches for 40 yards and recording a pair of pass breakups. Surtain spent the majority of his time covering Keenan Allen, and seeing the rookie's patient coverage style go against Allen's route-running savvy was one of the more entertaining one-on-one matchups of the week."