NEW YORK — After the class picture of the latest Hall of Fame inductees was taken, Peyton Manning made his way over to Steve Spurrier for another handshake and some chit-chat before heading off in opposite directions to do media interviews.
The former Tennessee quarterback and former Florida coach had a one-sided rivalry that helped define an era of SEC football. Manning set records in Knoxville, and won just about every award short of the Heisman Trophy, but his teams were 0-4 against Spurrier’s Gators.
Famous for his zingers, Spurrier said that on the rare occasion he runs into Manning these days, there is no trash talk. There’s just mutual admiration and the chance to talk ball. The secret to beating Manning was really no secret at all, Spurrier said.
"We just got ready to play the best we could," Spurrier said. "Offense. Defense. Just seemed to work out. They didn’t have their best game a lot and it seemed like we always played well."
Spurrier and Manning were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday at the National Football Foundation’s awards banquet in Manhattan.
Highlights of the rest of the class: Marshall Faulk of San Diego State; Matt Leinart of Southern California; Bob Crable of Notre Dame; Kirk Gibson, the National League MVP in 1988 and former Michigan State receiver and Brian Urlacher of New Mexico.
Spurrier is the fourth person to be inducted as both a player and a coach. Spurrier started his head coaching career at Duke from 1987-89 and credited his time there with allowing him to understand what it took to have a winning team.
"The offense had to play close to perfect just about every game. Defense was a little light, but they played their hearts out. So whatever kind of coach I became, I think I learned it at Duke University," Spurrier said.
He went on to coach at Florida, where he had won the Heisman in 1966, and went 122-27-1, including a national title in 1996.
Peyton and Archie Manning are first father-son duo to be inducted into the hall.
Peyton said he was 13 when his father was inducted and was allowed to skip school with his brothers, Eli and Cooper, to attend the ceremony.
"First time wearing a tuxedo; first time being in New York. So that was a big deal," Peyton said.