Peyton Manning is many things -- A former NFL superstar quarterback known for his days playing for the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, a Super Bowl 50 champ, a regular commentator on ESPN, and apparently, a major country music fan. He loves all the big country music stars -- George Strait, Eric Church, and his personal friend of over 25 years, Kenny Chesney.
In an interview with Luke Combs on Apple Music's podcast, Bootleggers Radio, Manning explained that his friendship with Chesney began in the mid-90s at a University of Tennessee football game. The country singer was there to perform, and it ended up being a pretty immediate friendship.
"Met Kenny on the sidelines of a Tennessee-Alabama game. Kenny was a diehard Tennessee fan growing up, going up in the East Tennessee Knoxville area, played the national anthem, sang "Me and You" I think at halftime and hung out on the sidelines for the game. And he was into it. He wasn't just thinking it was cool to be on the sidelines. He was into the game and you felt that."
Not only did the football player and country star hit it off quickly, but Manning also started regularly attending Chesney's concerts. Not just a friend but a genuine fan. The two make quite the interesting duo, with the country star standing a foot shorter than the famous quarterback, despite his signature cowboy hat. But they became such good friends, Chesney was part of Manning's wedding day.
"And Kenny ended up singing at the church at my wedding. He performed "Me and You" for my wife and I for our first song at our wedding reception."
Apparently, Chesney has even been known to bring his old pal out on stage during his concerts. Talk about one heck of a duet!
"I apologize to all the fans that had to hear me sing 'Back Where I Come From,' as opposed to letting Kenny sing it," he joked. "But Kenny liked bringing me out there, and believe it or not, Luke, back in the pre social media era, he actually put a guitar on me and put me in with the band. He put me in G. I don't know what G really is, but I get in G and just stay at it. And played the whole show. What a great way to watch a concert. The sight seeing, the energy, it was awesome. I think those days are over I think. And so he and I connected then and then went and saw him play a couple of shows at a fair in Knoxville, up in Bristol. A lot of his songs were coming out at the time."
Separately, both men are incredibly likable, so we can't even imagine how much fun it would be to hang out with the two of them together!