Peyton Manning wouldn't be first player to have big game against his former team
As Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning soon will find out, going up against his former teammates in Indianapolis, where he carved out a Hall of Fame career in 14 seasons with the Colts, will be an emotionally charged scene. Same as it is for any player who has spent years with one team and then returns in another uniform.
But if recent history holds true, chances are he'll feel good by the end of the day. After all, homecoming games for prominent players -- and even some noteworthy coaches -- usually go in their favor.
In perhaps the most highly-anticipated game featuring a player going against his old team, former Packers quarterback Brett Favre beat the Packers, 38-26, in Green Bay on Nov. 1, 2009, when he played for the hated Vikings. Favre threw four touchdown passes after receiving plenty of boos before and during the game.
"Packer fans cheer for the Packers first,'' Favre said afterward. "But I hope that everyone in the stadium watching tonight said, 'I sure hate those jokers on the other side, but he does play the way he's always played.' ''
Favre, who went through a messy divorce with the Packers and was traded to the Jets in 2008, isn't alone in enjoying the moment against his old team.
Former Bucs All-Pro free safety John Lynch, who signed with the Broncos in 2004, beat his old team, 16-13, in Tampa. "I think finally everything hit me,'' said Lynch, who helped the Bucs win their only Super Bowl championship. "I don't know if I was that nervous for the Super Bowl.''
Patriots running back Curtis Martin signed an offer sheet as a restricted free agent with Bill Parcells' Jets in 1998, and the decision paid off immediately for the former Patriots coach and his running back. In their first matchup together against the Patriots, the Jets beat New England, 24-14, at Foxborough Stadium, with Martin rushing for 107 yards.
Parcells enjoyed an emotional homecoming game against the Giants in 2003, his first season as the Cowboys' coach. In a Week 2 game won by Dallas, 35-32, in overtime, it looked as if the Giants would emerge with a 32-29 victory, but Matt Bryant's kickoff after the go-ahead field goal went out of bounds and Billy Cundiff kicked a 52-yard field goal on the final play of regulation to tie it. The Cowboys went on to win in OT on Cundiff's seventh field goal, with the Hall of Fame coach calling it "one of the great games I've ever been involved in.''
Former Eagles coach Andy Reid enjoyed his first game against his old team earlier this season, as Kansas City's new coach saw his Chiefs beat Philadelphia, 26-16, to improve to 3-0.
Will Manning be the latest to enjoy positive emotions after facing his former team? He certainly hopes so, especially in light of the fact that Colts owner Jim Irsay indicated that the Colts might be better off with Andrew Luck than Manning, who won one Super Bowl during his Indianapolis days.
"Football is certainly an emotional game,'' Manning said, "but to predict how you will feel? I just don't know.''