Peyton Manning is undoubtedly one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. If you want to throw in the “regular season” caveat so be it.
But for all intents and purposes Manning is likely the most recognizable figures of the modern NFL due to his off-field endorsements and activities making him a person that would be noticed by everyone from grandmothers to little children that have never watched a down of football.
So now that Manning has gotten to ride off in to the sunset with a Super Bowl ring, the NFL world isn’t going to hear as much about Manning as they have over the past few years.
Manning did rear his head this past weekend though when he, his brother Eli and father Archie held their highly regarded Manning Passing Academy this past weekend.
Peyton didn’t even throw more than one pass at the camp but he spoke with the media and that’s where he made some waves.
Manning revealed that in his first season out of the NFL, the first season he would be observing a a fan, which teams he would be rooting for.
With so much turnover in the NFL and so many players and coaches that Peyton has played with and against during his 18-year career it’s not hard to imagine that his personal network has connections with every single one of the 32 teams.
But which of the 32 did Peyton list as his rooting interests?
At the Manning passing academy, Peyton said he'd be rooting for Broncos, Colts, Giants, Texans, Dolphins and Lions this season. Just an FYI.— Conor Orr (@ConorOrr) June 24, 2016
While yes, that’s 20 percent of the NFL, there is something interesting from the otherwise non-newsworthy quote.
Sean Wagner-McGough over at CBSSports.com broke down all of Peyton’s connections to the teams:
Manning played in Indianapolis for 13 years and won a Super Bowl. He also played in Denver for four years and won a Super Bowl there too. And the Giants are Eli Manning's team.
Manning's reason for rooting for the Texans is entirely related to Brock Osweiler, according to Conor Orr. Osweiler backed up Manning for all four of his Denver years and now finds himself starting in Houston. And that leaves the Dolphins and Lions, who are both led by former Manning coaches in Adam Gase and Jim Caldwell.
Well-reasoned and sound list then. But wait. There is one name that is missing from that list...More from Wagner-McGough:
My lone takeaway: Man, Manning must really hate John Fox. He picked six teams, including his former offensive coordinator's team, and still left the Bears off that list. Fox won 38 games in three years with Manning! I know he made Manning kneel once in the postseason, but it might be time to move past that gaffe.
Why did John Fox get the snub? Fox won more games with Manning in three years than any coach other than Tony Dungy did with Peyton in Indianapolis. Fox took Manning to his third Super Bowl appearance.
Maybe Manning is still upset about the way that Super Bowl went or how the next postseason ended early.
Whatever the reason, it is a shame no reporters had the thought to ask the follow up question. He listed every team with a player or coach that he has a direct connection to except for one.
Personally, I can’t help but wonder if John Elway doesn’t have something to do with it. Elway and Manning appear to have gotten very close when the latter persuaded Manning to sign in Denver. Perhaps Elway and Manning colluded to making a coaching change before last season. Perhaps one or the other helped convince the other that Fox wasn’t the man to get it done.
Whatever the case, Manning is actively rooting against the Bears, especially twice a year when the Lions play them. Furthermore, the Bears also play the Colts, Texans and Giants. So Manning will be rooting against the Bears and Fox five times this season.
What do you think of Peyton’s comments? What do you make of the relationship between Fox and Manning? Why does Manning appear to not like his former coach?