My take on Peyton Manning’s remarkable comeback

Peyton Manning has always been one of my favorite players to interview.  He’s in control of what he wants to say, but shows humility and humor.  I remember 2 years ago asking him what he yelled at his wide receiver Blair White when he dropped a ball in the end zone against the titans.  He was a bit irritated that our cameras where covering him like flies on honey for the entire game and pre-game, but instead of voicing frustration he cleverly used sarcasm and, in a nice way, called me out when I called him out. http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-player-interviews/09000d5d81cc7eb4/Manning-after-the-game 

When our NFL network game production crew sat down with Peyton this year in week 14 before the Broncos played the Raiders we couldn’t get enough of the quarterback.  After Manning walked out of the room, Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock and I all turned to each other and agreed we would have liked another 30 minutes.  We had enjoyed the conversation that much.

Peyton shared with us some of the struggles he faced after having four neck surgeries.  He told us he had video of his first throws after the surgeries.  That he had considered allowing NFL films to document his comeback from the beginning and in some ways regreted turning Steve Sabol down.  Because maybe even he would have been in awe of how far he’s come in a year.  He said that he had to reteach his arm how to work.  To do that he said, “I did things in the mirror. It was huge when I got my motion back.”  Which wasn’t easy. At first he had proprioception problems.  Which meant he couldn’t really tell how far his arm was from his head as it whizzed by his ear.  It’s kind of like being really drunk and trying to touch your nose with your finger with your eyes closed. Your mind thinks your on target, but your hand isn’t listening.

He told us that when he got to Denver he was looking for familiarity.  That’s why the organization brought in players like Jacob Tamme and Brandon Stokley, two of his old Indianapolis teammates.  He needed things and players he recognized.  He told us there were plays he wasn’t used to and he laughed saying, “sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing.”   Which seems hard to believe now that Peyton Manning has the Denver Broncos two games away from a trip to the super bowl.  Whatever happens, one thing I know I’ll be looking forward to….Manning’s post game interview.