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If you like Peyton Manning's story, you might also like:
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
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Peyton Manning
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Peyton Manning Interview (page: 7 / 7)

Super Bowl Champion Quarterback

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  Peyton Manning

If a young person comes to you and says, "Mr. Manning, I want to grow up and do what you've done," what advice do you give them?

Peyton Manning: I tell them to work hard. I tell them to dream big and set goals. I believe in writing out your goals and working hard to accomplish those goals, and to keep dreaming. I tell them to have fun. I tell them they need to enjoy trying to accomplish that goal. If it's a really young kid, an eight- or ten-year-old, I tell them that I didn't know I was going to be a football player when I was that age. I tell them to do everything. Play football, play basketball, play baseball, be in the school play or participate in some sort of community activity, live it up. I wish them the best of luck. I pull for them.


I hear about kids that worked as hard as they possibly could, and didn't get to achieve their goal. I'm disappointed right there with them. I feel for them, but you learn from it, and it does make you stronger, and then you figure out that maybe this wasn't in the cards for me. I'm going to find a way to do something else and maybe even be more successful at it. That's what life's all about.


This is a question you might be tired of hearing, but there isn't anybody out there who doesn't want to know what you talk about in the huddle.


Peyton Manning: I can't tell you everything that they say in the huddle. No. But people ask that question often, and I always say, "Yeah, there's women and children in the room. I can't give you the complete answer." For me, 95 percent of it is football jargon. It goes back to that clock thing, that time. I'm always checking that clock. I'm going, "There's not enough time. There's not enough time to get all of this." Because we call a lot of our plays at the line of scrimmage, we change a lot of the plays, and I need time. That time is my friend. That clock is my friend, and I like it when it says 35 seconds. When it says three or four seconds, that's a bad thing. I don't have enough time to get what I want to get done. I think less is best in the huddle. You've got ten guys out there that have very different ranges of attention spans. You've probably got five seconds where you are going to have all of them. You better say what you want to say in that moment. To give a long one in the huddle, or to give a long one in the locker room before the game, you're going to lose a lot of guys early.


The last one I gave, kind of...


The first play of the Super Bowl, when we huddled out there on the field, I just said, "Guys, we're playing for a lot of people tonight. We're playing for our families. We're playing for our hometowns, your high school coaches, you name it." I said, "Most importantly, let's play for each other. Let's play for each other tonight, and let's have fun. Let's work hard, and let's bring this championship back home."


Peyton Manning Interview Photo
I didn't think a lot about it. I didn't plan for that. There's no notes in the huddle. That's speaking from the heart, I guess you'd say. I think once you say something like that at the beginning, there's not much more to say.

You go out and do your job, but the thing is, you have to understand that these guys are going to know the situation. To get in there, I think sometimes there is wasted talk, "Hey guys, we really need this one right here." Well, if it's fourth and five, and there's five seconds left on the clock, I think it's pretty obvious that you need this one. So you better save yourself, saving your breath or talking about the specific football play. I've been miked up for games before. I think everybody is looking for this super motivational line somewhere in the huddle. You're probably not going to get that from me. You're going to get more football jargon from me. I think less is best, and try to say things that are meaningful.

Can you tell us what this means? "Deuce right, waggle 15, H throwback, Z post."


Peyton Manning: Z post, deuce right. Deuce, we have D's or 2-by-2's, and T's are 3-by-1's. So deuce is "receiver, tight end, tight end, receiver." So it's deuce, it's an even set. Right tells the tight end, the Y, where to go. So "deuce right" means "the tight end is here," and the H is here. And then, what is it? Waggle 15? Fifteen is the handoff. It would be the handoff play to the left. "Waggle" is a form of a fake handoff. So "waggle" means we're going to fake the handoff of a 15 play. I'm going to fake it. I'm going to kind of roll back to the right. "Waggle" also tells the offensive line, the protection, they're blocking "waggle protection." Now where "waggle" came from? No idea. It's been in football systems for years, so I don't really know the origin of that word. "H throwback": H is that guy, that tight end on the left. He's running the throwback route, in which he's going to go over and then go back. So I'm going to roll to the right, and I'm going to try to throw it to the H, kind of going over and back. Throwback.


And what was it? Z post? The Z is on your right. So you're going to go, "Deuce right, waggle 15, H throwback, Z post." You're going to fake, "waggle 15." You're going to roll right. You're going to check your H on the throwback. He's not there. You have to throw the Z on the post. He's running a 40-yard post.

How many plays do you have going into a game?

Peyton Manning: We're kind of unique in that. Our whole offense is in, every week.


Our coach tells us, "You need to know this whole book. I may call something in December that we haven't run since three years ago. So it's up to you to know it." Really, you'd have to say it's over a thousand, only because you can run every single play out of every single formation. That might change it just a little bit, so that multiplies the number of plays. So it's a thousand, a thousand plus. You end up running a lot of the same plays over and over again at each game, but you better be prepared for him to dial up something that he hadn't dialed up in about five years or so.


So everybody in that huddle knows what you're talking about?

Peyton Manning: Not necessarily.


I hear the play first, and I'm going to call it, and nobody is leaving that huddle until I know that they know what to do. There's nothing worse than you not knowing what to do, or knowing somebody else doesn't know what to do. That's not a good thing. Put it this way. We act like we're real sophisticated in the NFL. There's a lot of times when I just say, "Hey, you block him. You get open," like you're playing back at recess or in the playground. It turns into street ball. We just act like it's real sophisticated with "deuce right, waggle 15" terminology. It still comes down to, "Block him. Tackle him. Get open, I'll throw it to you. Let's go score."


You've been great.

Peyton Manning: Thanks.

We appreciate it.

Peyton Manning: I appreciate it. You're welcome. Thank you very much.

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