DENVER - In 1998, newly-drafted quarterback Peyton Manning said he thought Indianapolis "deserves a winner."
He went on to deliver 11 winning seasons, two trips to the Super Bowl and championship win for the Colts.
After recovering from neck surgery and his subsequent release by the Colts, Manning was courted by several teams. In his March 2012 introduction after signing a 5-year, $96-million contract with the Denver Broncos, Peyton once again used the "W" word.
"I'm very excited to begin the next chapter of my playing career with the Denver Broncos," he said at the time. "I can tell this organization is committed to winning."
This weekend, Manning will lead the Broncos back to Indianapolis in an attempt to hand his old team a loss and keep his new team undefeated. It will be an emotional trip back to a city where the quarterback continues to have a huge impact -- a Children's Hospital bears his name.
"I still obviously have a very strong association with the children's hospital there and have that fundraiser there every year for 1,000-something people," he said, responding to a reporter's question about his relationship with the city.
Manning tends to be the kind of person that leaves a mark behind. His alma mater, the University of Tennessee, began offering a scholarship in his name immediately after he graduated.
The quarterbacks' return to Indianapolis is bringing an economic boost to the city that one official called the "Peyton effect" in an interview with WRTV-TV, a sister station of 7NEWS. Whereas hotel rooms are usually just 57 percent occupied on a Sunday night, they are nearly 100 percent booked for the night of the football game.
Although not officially retired, Colts owner Jim Irsay has said no one else will ever wear number 18 for the team.
Wearing that uniform, Manning set dozens of records. He threw for the most passing yards in a single decade, 42,254; the most consecutive seasons with at least 25 touchdown passes, 13; he has the most consecutive regular season wins as a starter, 23; and many other league and team records.
The Broncos legendary, and first, quarterback Frank Tripucka granted Manning permission to wear the retired number 18 in Denver.
In his first game against his former team, Number 18 will face off against Number 12, Andrew Luck.
Like Manning, the Colts drafted their new quarterback with the number one pick. Both quarterbacks had strong rookie seasons, but Luck's statistics were actually slightly better and he led the Colts to 11 wins whereas they won only three in 1998.
The two quarterbacks have never played each other before, but Luck's performances to date have earned Manning's respect.
"He's an extremely talented player that played as a rookie, which is not easy, but he certainly used that year—not only did he play well his rookie year but he used it to his advantage to be even better this year. He's off to a hot start," Manning said.
"How I'll feel walking into the stadium? I can’t tell you that right now," Manning told reporters Wednesday. "I'll probably know after the game [but] I probably may not tell you that after the game either (laughing). It's just too hard to predict."