When the e-mail inviting him to enter GAF’s sweepstakes to win a trip to the 2016 International Roofing Expo (IRE) and a private meeting with NFL Super Bowl champion quarterback Peyton Manning, Nathan Braly believed his chances were slim.
He also knew he’d have a lot of explaining to do if he didn’t take a shot at it. His wife, Melissa, has been a dedicated Manning fan for much of the past two decades and he feared she might never forgive him, “I saw that e-mail and thought ‘Yeah right. You’re not going to win.’ But my wife is a huge fan,” he explained. “I know I’d be sleeping on the couch — for a while — so I typed up the (entry form) e-mail and hit submit.”
Within a week, Braly, the owner and general manager of Houston Roofing & Construction, learned he’d be going to his first IRE — punctuated by an exclusive meeting with one of the greatest football players to ever put on shoulder pads after perhaps the biggest game of his fantastic career.
The fact that Manning, well on his way to the NFL Hall of Fame, plays for Braly’s favorite team and led them to a Super Bowl victory just feels like icing on the cake, he said. He also mentioned it’s Melissa’s birthday this week.
“The timing of it all just couldn’t be better,” said Braly, who grew up in northern Colorado. “I’m a life-long Broncos fan and, for me, this is just ridiculous. I truly feel blessed and fortunate.”
As an avid Broncos fans, the historical significance of Manning’s performance in Super Bowl 50 is not lost on Braly.
Manning, 39, had a roller coaster season. He set all-time NFL records for career touchdown passes and passing yards, eclipsing other legends of the game. However, he also missed several games due to injury and faced unyielding scrutiny about his health and ability to still win the big game.
Despite all his success – including the MVP award for winning the 2007 Super Bowl – Manning is still regarded more for his regular season performances than his postseason prowess. All that likely changes with his strong showing in Super Bowl 50.
“Hopefully it’ll be able to put a little shine on his postseason career,” Braly said.
Regardless of the game’s outcome, Braly said his admiration for Manning as both a player and true professional won’t wane, and it can relate to roofing.
“He’s all about hard work and is meticulous about his preparation,” Braly said. “It’s one thing to do that in (the roofing) business, but to put that vision for perfection into a team sport, especially like football when there’s so much physical contact and variables, it’s just amazing. It’s really something to admire.”
Art Aisner is the editor of Roofing Contractor. He can be reached at 248-244-6497.