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Peyton Manning
 
Peyton Manning
Profile of Peyton Manning Biography of Peyton Manning Interview with Peyton Manning Peyton Manning Photo Gallery

Peyton Manning Interview

Super Bowl Champion Quarterback

June 22, 2007
Washington, D.C.

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  Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning Interview Photo
Peyton, you've achieved every quarterback's dream, leading your team, the Indianapolis Colts, to a Super Bowl victory. What prepared you to be a professional athlete, and to succeed at it?

Peyton Manning: I think experience is the best teacher in all facets, and so to play college football in a place like Tennessee, extremely high-profile program, playing on national TV every Saturday, great big crowds and demands on your time as a student athlete, I think that experience prepared me as much as it could for the professional ranks. There was a major adjustment to the physical part of the game, the speed of the game, the complexity of defenses. There is a major adjustment there. I think playing at Tennessee prepared me as much as it could, but there are still going to be those growing pains, and then the media demands are more intense, but you have a preparation.



The biggest challenge for most kids, and for me, is the adjustment of having money in your pocket. That is the biggest change. Football for me -- sometimes I am kind of embarrassed to say it -- it was my first job. When I was in the summers, I was playing so much baseball and working out for football. I was kind of ahead of the curve as a high school kid, as far as off-season workouts as a football player. Most kids, they play football when football season starts, but I was throwing pass patterns with my receivers in May, June, and July. I'm calling them, going, "Where are you? It's 12 o'clock," and this guy is going, "Well, I have a job this summer." I'm going, "Well, that's not going to cut it. You need to be here throwing with the quarterback." I had my chores at my house or whatnot, but I never had an office job or never had a, you know, employee contract. When I signed my contract with the Colts, that was the first contract I'd ever signed.



I think the worst question that the media asks athletes when they sign their contracts, or when they get drafted, is "What are you going to do with your money?" That's a bad question. There's not a good answer that people want to hear come from that. I blame the media for asking the question. But the answer that I gave, which I think all of them should say, is "I'm going to earn it." That's what I said, "I'm going to earn it," and not, "I'm going to go buy this or buy that." I'm going to go earn it. That is how I have always felt about the money that you make as an athlete, the money that you are paid on your potential, to go earn it, to make the owner and the president happy about the investment they made in you, about working hard to be the best player that you can be.

[ Key to Success ] Integrity


There is more to what you do than just run out on the field and play. There is a mental aspect too, isn't there?

Peyton Manning: No question.


Peyton Manning: The cerebral part of the game is the most challenging part of the game. You wouldn't be in the NFL if you didn't have the physical skills. I've spent tons of time, like I said, the workouts as a high school kid, lifting weights, running by yourself. You do that, but you have to do that. The cerebral part is where you can advance yourself and (what you) have to constantly stay on top of. Both of them, really. If you ever stop working out, that is when you get injured, you get behind. But you have to stay so sharp mentally. I think sometimes you can get away with the physical part with being a great athlete. I can overcome that, but the cerebral part, you can't get behind in the mental aspect of the game. Everything happens so fast.

[ Key to Success ] Preparation



Before you get to the actual physical part of the game, before you get to trying to avoid the 300-pounders, or completing passes against these guys that are fast, you have noise, which is an irritant. You can't hear. How many other people work where you just can't hear? You have weather, 60 percent of the time. Sometimes you're playing in a dome, it's perfect weather, but weather's a factor. You have time. That's the big difference. Baseball players, there's no time. There's no clock. The guy can pitch whenever he wants. We have to operate under a clock, and then you have ten other guys that you're trying to coordinate out there. So if you are not strong mentally, and sharp mentally, and rested, you will get behind in that aspect of the game.


Sports writers and sportscasters talk about character. How do you define character in an athlete?


Peyton Manning: I think character is what you're doing when nobody else is around. To me, that's the best way that I know to describe it. Are you the right kind of guy? Do you have the right things inside of you? Do you love the game? Like I said, would you play for free in the NFL? Obviously, I wouldn't tell my owner that, but I would. I think you want to be around those kind of guys, guys that love it, guys that are thinking about it. They always say, "Don't take your job home." When you go home, don't take it. I don't agree with that. I think if you love what you do, there is nothing wrong with being home with your family and thinking about the game that Sunday, or thinking about, "I might need to do this." That means you love it. That doesn't mean you're obsessed with it. That doesn't mean that your priorities are out of whack. That means you love what you do. I think it has a lot to do with the character of the guys that you have on your team.

[ Key to Success ] Passion


Another thing sportswriters talk about is "intangibles." What are intangibles?


Peyton Manning: I don't totally know. That's one of those buzz words that's just kind of been created. That's the big thing, when guys are coming out of the draft and the analysts are breaking him down, they say, "Well, he's got the physical part. I'm not sure if he has the intangibles." Well, give us a list of something. Tell me you need something. You hear the term "the sixth sense" and "in the pocket," or "He can run, but you have to feel these guys rushing you," and there's something to that. I guess that would be an example of an intangible. Do you just feel something? Do you feel somebody about to hit you? Do you slide up or do you slide the other way?

[ Key to Success ] Passion


I think what they're talking about is that ability to elevate the rest of the guys around you. Your presence probably has a lot to do with it. That might be considered an intangible, something that you can't touch or whatever, but just when you walk into that huddle, when you talk into that practice field, letting everybody else know it's time to get down to business and, "Hey, we got a chance with this guy in the huddle." I think quarterbacking especially, you need to have a presence about you and the way that you walk and you carry yourself and the way that you speak.

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This page last revised on May 05, 2008 15:46 EDT