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Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning
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Peyton Manning Interview (page: 4 / 7)

Super Bowl Champion Quarterback

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  Peyton Manning

Do you think about the fact that at the age of 35, or 40 at the most, this career is going to be over? Then what?

Peyton Manning: I try not to think about it, but you have to. You know it's there. I get a little bit jealous of the golfers. Basically, there is no age requirement. They can play until whatever age, and you wish it was like that. I'm 31. I'm going in my tenth year. I've always said, to play 16 years, I think, is realistic. I want to be able to play well for 16 years. You're going to lose some skills as you get older, but I don't want to be one of those guys that's just kind of hanging on. I want to walk away on my own terms, to be fair to your teammates, or to be earning your contract. That's a goal of mine.

My dad played for 15 years. Marino and Elway played 16 and 17. I'd like to play for the same team for that amount of time, which is kind of rare these days, is a goal of mine. But when I do think about it, I get sad, because I know I will struggle with that. I'm not ashamed to admit that, because you talk about a routine, and not "since your first year in the NFL," not "since 1998." You're talking about going back to as a freshman in high school. Every day from August until -- the season is growing in pro ball -- but August to December. Practice is at this time. It's 4:00 to 6:00 in high school, it's 2:00 to 4:00 in college, and it's 1:00 to 3:00 in pro ball, but that is your routine. And then, when you're not playing, you're lifting weights and getting ready. So all of a sudden, at this age, that stops? You're not getting up in the morning. You're not driving to practice. You're not putting on a helmet and shoulder pads. It's a major adjustment. My dad told me how difficult it was. He retired. He went out when he was ready to go out on his own terms, but he just said, "It's hard, because there's a smell in October of football," and not being able to do that...

So what do I want to do? It's hard to say.

I hear some guys talking about what they're going to do when they're finished playing, or talking about this investment or business that they're involved in currently, and I kind of look at them and go, "You know, you're not doing your current job all that well. I'd like you to focus a little more on the blocking and the catching of this football part before you get into this real estate deal." I say that, and I'm kidding with them, but I kind of believe that too, is that it's not fair for me to be thinking about other things and preparing for other things if I'm not giving my current job undivided attention.

I kind of want to be a consultant. I don't really know what that word means, but it sounds like they just pay you to second-guess people. No, I'm kidding!

I think football has been such a big part of my life, it would be hard to not have something to do with the game. The common transition has been the broadcasting. I probably would not get into coaching. I think I'd be a good coach, because I love talking. We have a high school camp for kids, for freshmen through seniors, and love it. I love helping out sophomore high school, working football and talking about it, but I don't think I could handle -- in the professional ranks -- the egos, to tell you the truth. It's hard enough as a player, dealing with all the different personalities. College? I think the recruiting would be hard, to travel all over the road recruiting. I think high school or junior high would probably be the most fun, enjoyable age to coach, the kids that really have that passion and love for it.

Peyton Manning Interview Photo
So I don't know. I shake a lot of hands. I keep a lot of business cards. I wish I knew, but I figure I have some time and something will arise. I hope I can find something that comes close to the rush and the thrill that I get playing football. I'm not too optimistic that I will, but you hope you find something so that you can get up in the morning and look forward to going to work.

What was most important to you about winning the Super Bowl?

Peyton Manning: Winning the Super Bowl? It's just nice, as a team, to do something together that you've wanted to do for a long time. I think that's been the most rewarding part of it, being with my team in the weight room, out to dinner, playing golf, looking at some of my teammates and knowing what we did and how we did it together. Having to had to answer some of the dumb questions that I've had to answer, I'd say maybe the best part about it is there will be some new questions that I'll have to answer now. There's always another angle and another criticism out there, but the questions have changed for me, at least temporarily. People try to analyze your look. "I could just see the huge relief off your shoulders," and I say, "Well, you might have seen that. I sure didn't feel that." I don't know what "monkey on your back" means. It's another expression that has just developed in sports media. I just can't agree with it. I don't know what it means. I don't get it. I've never felt that.

I've worked as hard as I possibly could, every year, to be the best player that I could be, to try to help my team win games. I didn't work any harder this past year than I did in previous years. My team played outstanding at the right time, and we got hot, and we accomplished our goal. I didn't feel like there was this huge change in my life because of what happened. I felt very humbled by the whole experience, humbled and fortunate to have been on a team that had a chance to accomplish that.

At the end of the game, watching it on television, I think we saw you and your folks embracing.

Peyton Manning: Yeah. That was special.

I think it was actually after we beat the Patriots in the AFC championship game, which was very much a Super Bowl atmosphere. I think many players felt like, after winning that game, that we would go on to win the Super Bowl. That team has been such a nemesis for us for so many years. I spotted him throughout the melee, and went over there and shared a hug with him. Got a great picture of it, and you talk about a real lasting memory. Like my mother and my brothers, very supportive of each other, and he's been there for me the whole time. When I was a kid, he hugged me after a win, but he hugged me a lot after some of the tough losses that we've had, and I'm the same way with Eli. I'm pulling for him, and I pull for my older brother Cooper and his business, and anything that is going on with him. A very supportive family.

What's it like to play against your brother Eli?

Peyton Manning: I just did it once. Very tough. Very tough.

I've never been prouder to be on the field at the same time with another player. To look across the sideline, to watch, when you're on the sideline and your defense is out there, and to see your little brother out there throwing two touchdowns against your defense, a real proud moment for me. A little bit nervous, because usually you want your defensive end to hit their quarterback as hard as he can. Now you're saying, "Well, I don't want you to hit my brother that hard," but very proud. I found myself looking at him a lot during the game and kind of watching him. I've never been probably as proud to share the field with another player before.

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