On Oct. 7, hundreds of Colts fans cheered when the long-awaited Peyton Manning statue was finally unveiled outside Lucas Oil Stadium.
What they didn’t see was the painstaking process of assembling the bronze of the celebrated former quarterback. Artist Ryan Feeney — along with subcontractors Martin Kuntz at Creative Works and Sean Neal at Sincerus Bronze Art Center — put hundreds of hours into each stage of the process.
Now that Manning is standing tall in Downtown Indy, here’s a look at the different stages of the process.
First, Manning struck his famous poses while the Colts and collaborators took photos. Then, once a pose was decided on, Kuntz created a model using a 3-D sculpting computer program.
Using a type of 3-D printer, he printed out sections and assembled and refined them.
The result: the hardened, high-density core of the sculpture that Feeney would cover in about 200 pounds of clay. The artist carefully formed Manning’s skin, wrinkles, clothes, jersey, eyes and logo. He also reshaped the eyes, nose and hands.
After the clay part was finished, the statue traveled to the Sincerus art center. There, it was cut apart to make molds that would end up as bronze pieces. About two dozen of the pieces were welded back together.
In the bronze stage, Feeney and his collaborators toned the sculpture, offering a contrast between a more polished look and a textured one. A patina was rubbed on the statue to make some parts, like the jersey, appear darker.
And then, the secretive statue came to life.
The New England Patriots routed the Denver Broncos in Denver on Sunday night. With this win, Tom Brady now stands alone with the NFL record for most regular season wins on the road by a starting quarterback. Brady and Peyton Manning were previously tied with 85 wins in regular season away games.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is Brady’s closest competition with 64 wins on the road. Next on the list is Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger with 59 road wins under his belt.
As it stands now, Brady has a 22 game lead over Brees and Roethlisberger. It seems likely Brady will hold on to this NFL record for quite some time.
NFL legend Peyton Manning attends his younger brother Eli’s games occasionally. Sunday’s game will have a bit more meaning, as Peyton is at the Giants’ matchup with the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium to watch Eli tie his streak of 208 consecutive starts.
That’s the second-longest streak in NFL history behind only Brett Favre’s untouchable 297 straight starts.
“It’s unbelievable,” Peyton Manning said of his brother’s durability to NJ Advance Media. “I’m proud of him for that. He answers the bell every Sunday.”
Peyton politely declined to do a more extensive interview. There was plenty that could have been asked of the elder Manning, who who retired after the 2015 season.
Peyton started every game in the first 13 seasons of his career with the Colts. His streak ended when he missed the entire 2011 season with a neck injury, which paved the way for the Colts to release him and hand the starting job to No. 1 pick Andrew Luck.
Peyton played four more seasons in Denver, retiring after winning Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium.
Eli could find himself in a similar situation after this season. The 1-7 Giants are on track to have a top pick in the draft, which could lead the franchise to select Eli’s successor.
Eli has a no-trade clause and has shown no interest in playing for another team, but his brother’s experience in Denver could make him more receptive to possibly finishing his career elsewhere if the Giants want to move on.
All of that will be decided in the future. For today, the focus is on Eli matching his brother’s “unbelievable” durability.