INDIANAPOLIS | Super Bowl MVP Peyton Manning came "home" Sunday night and you would've thought the Beatles were the warmup act for the Rolling Stones at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Indianapolis hasn't been whipped into such an lather since hosting the Super Bowl two years ago.
Manning's undefeated Denver Broncos were playing the revitalized Colts, his former employer, in prime time, and national media was on this eagerly awaited showdown like wolves on red meat.
Public parking around Lucas Oil ranged from $30 to $40. Remaining tickets, late that afternoon, went for $325 lower level and $175 for upper level seating.
There were more than 250 media credential requests for the Sunday Night Football matchup on NBC — about 100 fewer than your average Super Bowl.
Manning, 37, had been released by the Colts prior to the 2012 season after missing all of 2011 with a neck injury.
Now two years removed from the serious neck problems that weakened his right arm but strengthened his resolve, he returned Sunday night with 22 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 128.8 QB rating on a team averaging 42 points per game.
In the week leading up to the game, both teams were careful not to provide bulletin board material regarding Manning's perceived "treatment" by the Colts, owner Jim Irsay and first-year general manager Ryan Grigson, a Highland native.
Grigson and Manning chose to talk about their respective teams and the game and didn't waver.
"He's an historical icon and a great friend of mine," Irsay said.
"He was cut. That's what happened," former Colts GM Bill Polian bluntly pointed out. "He would've preferred to stay. But with a new quarterback (Andrew Luck), the owner wanted to start over.
"That's the business."
Manning was honored in a video presentation before Sunday's kickoff and had referred to the game simply as a "business trip" during his conference call earlier in the week.