Most anticipated NFL homecoming games since 2000

Broncos at Colts
Oct. 20, 2013 (Week 7)

The standing ovation given to Peyton Manning — Tom Brady’s onfield archrival for many years and the OTHER quarterback on the All-Decade Team of the 2000s — before he played against the Colts in a Broncos jersey for the first time is likely the most similar to the kind of reception Brady will receive in New England in Week 4. During his time with the Colts, Manning won more MVPs (four) than any other player in NFL history, and he led the franchise to its only Super Bowl win (in Super Bowl XLI) since moving to Indianapolis in 1984. Manning concluded his 13 seasons with the Colts (1998-2010) as their career leader in QB wins (141), passing yards (54,828) and passing TDs (399).

But in 2011, a neck injury caused Manning to miss his entire age-35 season, and the Colts wound up releasing him, then drafted his successor, Andrew Luck, first overall in 2012. Manning, meanwhile, signed a five-year, $96 million deal to join John Elway’s Broncos in Denver. Manning’s first opportunity to return to Indianapolis came over a year later, in Week 7 of the 2013 season. Manning (29-of-49, 386 passing yards, three passing TDs, one INT and a 96.1 passer rating) and the 6-0 Broncos came up one score short against Luck (21-of-38, 228 passing yards, three passing TDs, zero INTs, 99.5 passer rating, 29 rushing yards and one rushing TD), falling by the final tally of 39-33. Manning’s only interception of the day set up a Colts field goal that put Indy up by six, and then Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman’s fumble helped put the game out of reach.

Manning’s Broncos career peaked in 2013; he set the NFL single-season records for passing yards (5,477) and passing touchdowns (55) en route to earning his fifth NFL MVP. He capped his career with an Elway-like finish with a Super Bowl 50 win in 2015.