After more than 30 years as a football official, Butch Hannah has seen it all, but the normally proper Peyton Manning getting a little salty really stands out.
"Peyton's next-to-last year, the Broncos were facing the Dolphins in Denver and the whole game was a struggle for them," Hannah told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "I called back two Denver touchdowns. But they pulled it out by two or three points (39-36). But late in the game, the clock about to run out, Peyton mistimed a snap and they had to run one more play. Peyton said something off-color to me, which was not at all like him.
"I told him, 'Peyton, you're better than that.'"
Hannah, who is retiring, said that a few weeks later a FedEx package arrived with a letter from Manning that had originally been sent to the NFL offices in New York.
"He said he wanted to apologize for his reaction to me that day against the Dolphins," Hannah told the Times Free Press. "Would I please accept his apology? That's the only time that's happened to me in all my years of officiating."
A few months later, during a preseason game, someone puts an arm around Hannah.
"It's Peyton," Hannah told the newspaper. "He asks me, 'Did you get my card?' I said, 'Peyton, you've got to let this go.' He says, 'You have no idea how upset I was with myself.' That's the kind of son Archie and Olivia raised. Pretty impressive."
Hannah had known Manning since the quarterback was at Tennessee and the ref was working SEC games back in the '90s. NOw both are enjoying retirement.
"Life is good," the 66-year-old Hannah told the Times Free Press on Friday. "My wife and I are going to the beach for two weeks. My golf game has never been better. And for the first time in 33 years I don't have to spend my vacation brushing up on changes in the college football and NFL rule books."