Peyton Manning born

On March 24, 1976, Peyton Manning is born in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Archie and Olivia Manning. Archie had been a star quarterback for the University of Mississippi (1968-1970) and the New Orleans Saints (1971-1981).

Peyton began his own football career at Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans, where he threw passes to his older brother Cooper, a wide receiver. Ole Miss fans were shocked and dismayed when Manning rejected his father’s alma mater and instead headed after graduation for the University of Tennessee, where he played under Coach Phillip Fullmer. He graduated in three years, and despite predictions that he would be the number-one pick in the NFL draft, he returned to the Volunteers to try to win a national title in the 1997 season. Although his quest was ultimately unsuccessful–the Vols finished the season with an 11-2 record and lost to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl–Manning won nearly every award open to a college quarterback that year, including the James E. Sullivan Award for the best amateur athlete in the country, but he came in second in the Heisman Trophy voting to cornerback Charles Woodson of Michigan.

In 1998, Manning was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts as the first pick overall. He started every game that year, and had never missed a start in his pro career through the 2006 season. Popular with fans and well-known for both his on-the-field play-calling and his witty product endorsements, Manning proved himself a top NFL quarterback in his first five seasons. In 2004, he broke Dan Marino’s seemingly unbreakable record of 48 touchdowns in a season with 49 of his own. Manning led the Colts to the AFC Championship that season, but both he and the team had a dismal showing, losing to the Patriots in Foxborough for the second year in a row. In 2005, Manning seemed to rebound, leading the Colts to a 13-0 regular-season start. Again, though, Manning disappointed in the postseason and, again, the Colts lost the AFC Championship, this time at home to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Though he had been named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player twice, pundits began to accuse Manning of being “soft” in the post-season, and questioned his ability to win big games.

In 2006, the Colts started fast again with nine consecutive wins, but slipped into a funk, finishing the season with a 12-4 record. After beating Kansas City at home in the first round of the playoffs, the Colts upset the Ravens in Baltimore in the divisional series. In the AFC title game, Manning led the Colts back from a 21-3 deficit, finally beating the New England Patriots–led by Manning’s friend, quarterback Tom Brady—38-34, in one of the most exciting conference championships in NFL history.

In Super Bowl XLI, on February 4, 2007, the Colts defeated the Bears 29-17, and Manning was named Super Bowl MVP. It was the first Super Bowl title for any Manning quarterback–Archie never won one, and little brother Eli, quarterback for the New York Giants, has yet to make it to the big game.


NATO bombs Yugoslavia

On March 24, 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commences air strikes against Yugoslavia with the bombing of Serbian military positions in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. The NATO offensive came in response to a new wave of ethnic cleansing launched by Serbian more

Shannon Lucid enters Mir

U.S. astronaut Shannon Lucid transfers to the Russian space station Mir from the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis for a planned five-month stay. Lucid was the first female U.S. astronaut to live in a space station.Lucid, a biochemist, shared Mir with Russian cosmonauts Yuri more

Queen Elizabeth I dies

After 44 years of rule, Queen Elizabeth I of England dies, and King James VI of Scotland ascends to the throne, uniting England and Scotland under a single British monarch.The daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth succeeded to the throne in 1559 upon the death of more

Exxon Valdez runs aground

One of the worst oil spills in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. more

German forces cross the Somme River

On March 24, 1918, German forces cross the Somme River, achieving their first goal of the major spring offensive begun three days earlier on the Western Front. Operation Michael, engineered by the German chief of the general staff, Erich von Ludendorff, aimed to decisively break more

First teach-in conducted

The first “teach-in” is conducted at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; two hundred faculty members participate by holding special anti-war seminars. Regular classes were canceled, and rallies and speeches dominated for 12 hours. On March 26, there was a similar teach-in at more

Truman signs off on aid to Palestine

On this day in 1949, President Harry S. Truman signs a U.S. resolution authorizing $16 million in aid for Palestinian refugees displaced and facing starvation as a result of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948.Truman’s resolution contributed U.S. funds to a $32 million United more

John Wesley Powell born

The great western explorer and conservationist John Wesley Powell is born near Palmyra, New York.The son of a Methodist minister, Powell imbibed his father’s theology as a boy. However, he was introduced to an alternative point of view when the elderly naturalist George Crookham more

Elvis Presley is inducted into the U.S. Army

When Elvis Presley turned 18 on January 8, 1953, he fulfilled his patriotic duty and legal obligation to register his name with the Selective Service System, thereby making himself eligible for the draft. The Korean War was still underway at the time, but as a student in good more

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens

Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof opens in New York, two days before his 44th birthday. The play would win Williams his second Pulitzer Prize.Williams had been an award-winning playwright since 1945, when his first hit play, The Glass Menagerie, opened, winning the more

Exxon Valdez runs aground in Alaska

On this day in 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker hits a reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, resulting in an enormous oil spill. Though there were no human victims of the crash, hundreds of miles of pristine coastline became coated with oil and thousands of sea birds, mammals more

Wendall Phillips booed in Cincinnati

On this day in 1862, abolitionist orator Wendell Phillips is booed while attempting to give a lecture in Cincinnati, Ohio. The angry crowd was opposed to fighting for the freedom of slaves, as Phillips advocated. He was pelted with rocks and eggs before friends whisked him more