NFL referee Butch Hannah is hanging his zebra uniform up. The 66-year-old spoke to the Times Free Press, a daily newspaper in Chattanooga, Tennessee, about his decision late last week.
Buried in that story was an interesting anecdote about former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Back in 2014, near the end of the Broncos come-from-behind win over the Miami Dolphins, Hannah made a call that drew Manning’s ire.
“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 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.”
An off-color comment made during the closing stretch of a tightly contested football game? Egads!
A few weeks later, however, a FedEx package showed up at Hannah’s home. Inside was a letter addressed to Hannah from Manning.
“He said he wanted to apologize for his reaction to me that day against the Dolphins,” Hannah said, per 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.”
Hannah accepted Manning’s apology. The two made up in person months later at a preseason game between Denver and Seattle.
So ends another chapter in the Peyton Manning snail mail chronicles.
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