"When Peyton arrived, this was a Pacers and Reggie Miller town," Benner said. "If you wanted to see the Colts it was more like you wanted to see the NFL, not the Colts. Peyton changed that entire mindset."
Though Manning struggled through his first season, Benner said neither he nor anyone else could have imagined how quickly he made the Colts the biggest show in town.
In the 208 games he's started since, Peyton has won four mvp's, made 11 pro bowls, led the team to 10 playoff appearances and won a super bowl, yet Benner said his impact can be summed up with a different number.
"Just look at the number of 18 jerseys you see around the city," Benner said. "That number has become emblematic, just as Peyton has become emblematic of the franchise, that number has become emblematic of the franchise."
As a man who now works for the Super Bowl Host Committee, Benner said he can also attest to the impact number 18 has had on the city.
"I think it's not a stretch to say that the Colts might not be here, there might not be a Lucas Oil Stadium, and there certainly wouldn't be a Super Bowl to play in that Lucas Oil Stadium without Peyton Manning," Benner said.
So what happens when the streak comes to an end on Sunday? With the franchise player standing on the sideline indefinitely, Benner said the only certainty is uncertainty.
"I think we do have to brace ourselves for the worst," Benner said. "It could potentially be a career threatening injury. Let's hope that that's not the case."