Sam Hunt and Peyton Manning are both set to take the field this Sunday for Super Bowl 50. Sam will be performing as part of the pregame festivities, while Peyton, of course, will be playing quarterback as the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers. Since Sam himself is a longtime ‘baller, having played QB for the University of Alabama at Birmingham in his college days, it turns out he has a little bit of history with the five-time MVP.
“When I was in high school, I went to a camp called the Manning Academy,” he recalls. “It’s a quarterback camp down in Louisiana. And I got to spend some time with Peyton and Eli, and they have another brother. I’ve followed his career for a long time.”
Several years later, Sam the country singer came face to face with his football hero.
“Actually, a couple of years ago, I was at a concert of Kenny Chesney’s in Denver, and I was standing there side stage and Jake Owen was there. He had opened up for him, and I’ve been a friend of his for a little while, and he turned and introduced me to the guy behind us, who I wasn’t aware of at the time, but it turned out to be Peyton Manning. He was just a really nice guy, and it was just pretty cool to be on the stage with two people who inspired me in two different arenas, with Peyton with football and Kenny with music,” Sam remembers.
So when it comes to this Sunday’s matchup, it’s no surprise who he’ll be rooting for- – even though he does have a bit of a conflict.
“First off, I’d like to see a really good game. I’m a big Peyton Manning fan, and I always have been. But I have a good friend that I played ball with in college; he’s playing with the Panthers, and their season’s been unbelievable. Just to watch the energy of that team grow throughout the year made it hard not to pull for ‘em, but I guess when it comes down to it, I’m gonna have to go with Peyton, because it could be his last go at it. He deserves it more than anybody. He’s one of the best that’s ever played.”
The “Break Up in a Small Town” hitmaker plays the Super Bowl 50 Tailgate Party Sunday at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco. You can catch his performance on The Super Bowl Today, starting at 2 p.m. ET on CBS.
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