Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning gave thanks to God in an interview following the upset win against the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl 50.
"I'm very grateful," said Manning. "It's very special to cap it off with a Super Bowl championship...definitely going to say a prayer and thank the man upstairs for this opportunity."
The 39-year-old quarterback has hinted at possible retirement when he told his coach that this year's Super Bowl may possibly be his "last rodeo." Although he did not explicitly speak of his future plans, analysts and the public speculate that the Super Bowl 50 would be his last.
Manning has never been coy in discussing his firm belief in God and how this helped him live a good life.
"My faith has been number one since I was 13 years old and heard from the pulpit on a Sunday morning in New Orleans a simple question: 'If you died today, are you one hundred percent sure you'd go to heaven,'" Manning shared in the book he co-authored with father Archie Manning.
He added, "Cooper was there and Eli [Peyton's two brothers] but it didn't hit them at the time the way it did me. It was a big church, and I felt very small, but my heart was pounding. The minister invited those who would like that assurance through Jesus Christ to raise their hands, and I did. Then he invited us to come forward, to take a stand, and my heart really started pounding. And from where we sat, it looked like a mile to the front. And I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since."
Manning also shared the order of things in his priority list. Pointing out the four most important aspects of his life, the Denver Broncos star explained that football takes the last place. He shared, "For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football."
The Super Bowl 50 champion added, "[A]s important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth. My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old."
Manning also disclosed that he is not as showy as other athletes when it comes to his faith. The Denver Broncos star shared that he believes his actions should speak louder than his proclamations in public when it comes to his belief system. However, Manning is quick to point out that he sees nothing wrong with publicly celebrating one's faith.
"Some players get more vocal about it-the Reggie Whites, for example-and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games," he said. Manning added, "I have no problem with that. But I don't do it, and don't think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder."
Mitch de Leon and Eric Chen contributed to the report.