Peyton Manning once wrote apology letter to referee he chewed out

Shutdown Corner

Peyton Manning now has been retired for more than a year, but the tales of his prolific letter writing and thoughtfulness continue to roll in.

Hat tip to PFT, which passed on the story about recently retired referee Butch Hannah and his interaction with Manning during a game toward the end of his career. Hannah relayed the story to the Chattanooga Times-Free Press about how Manning got on his case — and then later tried to make amends in a way that was unique to the ref but very much how Manning handled his business.

Peyton Manning once chewed out a referee and then sent him an apology letter a few weeks later. (AP)
Peyton Manning once chewed out a referee and then sent him an apology letter a few weeks later. (AP)
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“Peyton’s next-to-last year, the Broncos were facing the Dolphins in Denver and the whole game was a struggle for them,” Hannah said. “I called back two Denver touchdowns. But they pulled it out by two or three points [39-36]. But late in the game, the clock [was] about to run out, Peyton mistimed a snap and they had to run one more play. Peyton said something off-color to me, which was not at all like him.

“I told him, ‘Peyton, you’re better than that.'”

Manning knew it and wanted to make amends, apparently. After all, the two had worked together back to Hannah’s days as an SEC referee in Manning’s college days at Tennessee. Within a few weeks, a FedEx package arrived at Hannah’s house, by way of the league offices in New York City. Inside was a letter handwritten by Manning.

“He said he wanted to apologize for his reaction to me that day against the Dolphins,” Hannah said. “Would I please accept his apology? That’s the only time that’s happened to me in all my years of officiating.”

Hannah then was working a preseason game the following season between the Broncos and Seahawks in Seattle when he felt someone throw their arm around his shoulder.

“It’s Peyton,” Hannah said. “He asks me, ‘Did you get my card?’ I said, ‘Peyton, you’ve got to let this go.’ He says, ‘You have no idea how upset I was with myself.’ That’s the kind of son Archie and Olivia raised. Pretty impressive.”

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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