Sportress of Blogitude

Fans help place Peyton Manning’s No. 509 football in Hall of Fame display (photos)


It didn’t take long for the football that Peyton Manning threw to record his NFL record 509th touchdown pass on Sunday night to travel from Denver to Canton.

The prized piece of pigskin arrived at the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Monday evening and already was on display Tuesday for visitors to marvel at as it took its place alongside other treasured pieces of NFL memorabilia.

A family of football fans who arrived at the Hall of Fame early Tuesday morning were the benefactors of showing up on the same day.

The Rossell clan of Zionsville, Ind. — father Keith, twin boys Owen and Elliott and grandfather Ted — were the first in line at the Hall and as a reward for being early-arriving football loyalists, the four were charged with the task and honor of placing the historic football in the display.


The Rossells apparently are Colts and Browns fans, so Manning’s history with the former certainly made it a particularly thrilling moment, although an allegiance to Manning’s former team wasn’t necessary to make it quite the honor, something the Rossells understood well.

Via the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s official site:

“I thought he earned it,” stated Keith when asked if he watched Manning’s historic moment. “I was amazed he was able to come back from his surgery and persevere.”

“It’s cool!” shouted the smiling twin boys in unison.

The 10-year old boys, who were on fall break and visiting the Hall of Fame for the first time, beamed as they placed the football and a handmade “509” sign on display. Manning created the sign after the Broncos 42-17 victory to pose with Demaryius Thomas, who was on the receiving end of the record pass.

Cool, indeed. Along with the football, the exhibit also includes the handwritten “509” sign Manning held while posing for a photograph with Demaryius Thomas, who caught the record-breaking touchdown pass.

Riffing on Wilt Chamberlain’s infamous 100-point bit? Usually that would come across as a bit arrogant and haughty, but not in this instance.

Joe Horrigan, the Hall of Fame’s vice president of communications/exhibits, secured the ball on Sunday night, packed it in his luggage and returned to the Hall of Fame on Monday morning. He told that Manning has provided “several items” for display at the Hall of Fame, but odds are the football that took up residence on Tuesday is the most treasured piece of Manning-related NFL memorabilia.

(top image via NFL on ESPN/Twitter, second image via Pro Football Hall of Fame/Twitter)