Peyton Manning writes letter about Letterman’s influence, being part of ‘Late Show’ finale

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Photo: CBS

By Matthew Glenesk, IndyStar

(May 21, 2015)– Peyton Manning first appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” almost 18 years ago. On Wednesday, No. 18 was one of 10 celebrities to deliver Letterman’s final Top Ten list as the late night host signed off for good, our partners at the Indianapolis Star report.

An Indianapolis native and long a champion of Indy sports, Letterman never shied away from bringing local sports figures like Manning, Reggie Miller and countless Indy 500 champions on his show.

In his final appearance on Letterman, Manning managed to slip in a nice zinger:

“Dave, you are to comedy what I am to comedy.”

Manning also penned an article for about what Letterman has meant to him over the course of his career and wrote being a part of the Late Night finale will be something he’ll never forget.

“It’s funny, but my favorite memory of Dave didn’t come from one of my appearances on the show. It came soon after I signed with the Broncos—actually, on the day before the draft in 2012, when the Colts were sitting there with the first pick.

“That day, I was working out at the Broncos’ facility, trying to get used to my new world and learn Denver’s offense. I got word that Dave was trying to reach me, and so I get on the phone with him. He explains that they’re going to have Andrew Luck on the show, and what they want to do is present him with his new Colts jersey, like they’d be the ones telling him he was a Colt.

“He said to me, ‘I don’t want to do it if it makes you uncomfortable at all.’

“I said, ‘Dave, it doesn’t matter what I think. You do what you feel is best for the show.’

“Really, I didn’t care. Whatever Dave wanted to do was fine, but he said, ‘That’s it! We’re not doing it. Forget it. It’s done.’

“That meant so much to me. I didn’t give him an answer. It wasn’t my place to say anything. But the fact that he made that call, I can tell you this: If that were any other show, they sure wouldn’t have called to ask what I thought.”

On Thursday morning, former Butler coach Brad Stevens co-hosted ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” and was asked if he ever was on Letterman.

“I was on once, but I didn’t actually get to go,” Stevens said. “At 5 a.m., the day after the Duke game, we got home and I actually re-watched the game, fell asleep at 4 and the phone started ringing at 5. They’ll find you anywhere.”

Stevens didn’t travel to New York City for the show, instead having his segment taped from Indianapolis the day after the 2010 national title game.

Stevens said growing up in Zionsville he knows so many people connected to Letterman.

“Perhaps the funniest connection, I think if I’m being told the truth, his parents were florists, and my in-laws, my father-in-law is a florist. He owned a flower shop for years and years, when the Lettermans stopped in Cleveland, they stopped at my father-in-laws, and he and David shared a room, and David didn’t have a lot to say… Go figure.

“(Dave’s) been great to the city of Indianapolis, great to ball state, great at the track. I’m not surprised his last show matches up with the 500, I’m sure he’ll be there at the track this weekend.”

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