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Peyton Manning welcomed warmly upon his return to Lucas Oil Stadium

The boos for the Broncos turned to cheers when Peyton Manning hit the field. The boos for the Broncos turned to cheers when Peyton Manning hit the field. (Michael Conroy/AP)

The sellout crowd reacted predictably when the visiting Denver Broncos team hit the field at Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday night, showering boos on the 6-0 team looking to vanquish their hometown Colts. But when Denver's quarterback became visible, the boos switched to loud, emotional and uproarious cheers for the man who defined football in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning started to warm up on the field while a video tribute played on the stadium screens, showing many of the key plays Manning was involved in throughout his 14 seasons as the Colts' quarterback.

After the tribute, Manning took off his helmet and acknowledged the ongoing cheers, meant to appreciate the player who turned a basketball town into a football city. And just as quickly as it started, it quieted down. Manning put his helmet back on, and both teams continued to prepare for the game. (GIF via Bleacher Report):

It was the perfect celebration for Manning in his first trip back to Lucas Oil since the end of the 2011 season -- understated but heartfelt, and a great prelude to what proved to be an outstanding game.

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