Following the end of the 2015 season in which he won Super Bowl 50, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning has been largely out of the limelight. Sure, he's partnered with country singer Brad Paisley for many insurance commercials, but public appearances have been fewer in number. That all changed on Friday night when "The Sheriff" attended a Denver Nuggets game and threw a pass to the mascot.
Video surfaced during the battle between the Nuggets and the Boston Celtics that showed Manning in attendance and holding a football. Fairly surprising to many, but the purpose was revealed when the former Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts signal-caller told the Nuggets' mascot, Rocky, to go deep. Manning threw a pass from the right side of the court all the way to the other and hit the mascot in the hands, but Rocky couldn't make the catch.
If this had happened in an actual NFL game, Manning may have sent Rocky to the sidelines in exchange for someone with better hands, much like he did with former Colts receiver Austin Collie. However, this occurred during a basketball game, so he simply waved.
While Manning may have been the man that brought a Super Bowl to the Indianapolis Colts and helped build Lucas Oil Stadium, he also had a significant impact on the Denver Broncos. He joined the team in 2012 after missing a full season due to a neck injury and immediately recaptured his Pro Bowl form.
In 2012, Manning won Comeback Player of the Year after leading the Denver Broncos to the playoffs, where they would lose to the Baltimore Ravens. Still, the veteran quarterback was still named to the Pro Bowl and was First-Team All-Pro for the sixth time in his career.
In his four seasons with Denver, Manning continued to pile up points while pairing with a loaded Broncos offense. He set the single-season touchdown record (55), most passing yards in a season (5,477), and tied the record for the most touchdown passes in a game (seven).
The longtime veteran may not have been as effective during his final season in Denver, but he still contributed when the team needed. He led the Broncos to a victory over the then-San Diego Chargers to secure the top spot in the AFC playoffs, and then he threw two touchdowns during the AFC Championship to help defeat the New England Patriots.
Manning retired following a victory in Super Bowl 50, a game that made him the only quarterback to start and win the Big Game with two separate teams in his career. He also brought Denver its first Lombardi Trophy since former quarterback John Elway won two Super Bowls to finish his career (1998, 1999).
Photo Credit: Michael Hickey/Getty