Peyton Manning's Annoying Pursuit of Excellence
RUSH: I mentioned earlier that there's a Wall Street Journal story today, "Peyton Manning Is Mr. Annoying." This is a story about Peyton Manning's pursuit of excellence and how it annoys people, and I think that's quite instructive, too. I mean, it is a pretty good profile. Every waking moment of his life, when he's at work, it's all about being the best, and he wants everybody to be as focused on it as he is.
And if they're not he calls 'em out, even before coaches do. The story is about how that annoys some of the players. If they were losing, it'd be a real problem. Now, they're winning, so it's not everybody, and it's not a problem. Peyton doesn't have any enemies on the team. That's not the point of the story. The focus here is that the pursuit of excellence is annoying. To me, that's a problem. So I just want to address that.
RUSH: Peyton Manning. Since we're on the subject, Wall Street Journal: "Peyton Manning Is Mr. Annoying -- The only thing more terrifying than playing against Peyton Manning is playing with him. Let's be clear: Players love everything that comes with playing with Manning. He's a great quarterback and by all accounts a fine fellow. Teammates get Super Bowl appearances, eye-popping statistics and big contracts out of playing with him. There's only one problem. He's kind of annoying. Walking by Manning in Denver's locker room is a source of anxiety for all Broncos players, they say."
Think of that, now. All Broncos players, according to the Journal, walking by Peyton Manning is a source of anxiety. "Running back Ronnie Hillman said he tenses up when he brushes past him. This is because Manning is known to give passersby a pop quiz about Denver's upcoming opponent." By the way, there's no favoritism. It doesn't matter. Anybody, according to this, everybody that walks by, even the coach gets nervous.
"Backup quarterback Zac Dysert said the questions Manning asks him usually focus on where the ball should go against a particular coverage. It is 'definitely easy to be scared' of Manning, he said." All Manning is doing is determining how prepared his teammates are.
"'It seems like he's going about his business, and then all of a sudden he'll stop and ask a question,' said guard Louis Vasquez. 'Usually when guys are in the locker room, it's time to take a break, but his mind's always going.' Scenes like these are common in Denver since Manning joined the team in 2012. This season, at age 37, Manning threw for the most yards in NFL history with 5,477 yards. He did it with a mixture of natural talent and preparation. Lots of preparation.
"'I don't think Denver had any idea of what you get in Peyton Manning. You have to stimulate him mentally or you'll lose him,' said former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon, now an analyst for SiriusXM Radio. 'Equipment guys, trainers, video guys, coaches—everyone has to be on edge.' The practice field is Manning's main laboratory for overbearing behavior. Manning often doesn't wait for the Broncos' assistant coaches to correct the players' mistakes -- and that doesn't apply to just the offense.
"Safety David Bruton said Manning can get irked when a special-teams player drops a punt on another field, off in the distance. 'Or even if we miss blocks during the kicking phase of practice,' Bruton said. Manning won't even tolerate mistakes that fail to take advantage of his mistakes: Bruton said the quarterback will get perturbed if a defensive back fails to catch Manning's own potential interception. 'The important thing to remember is that he's not mad at you. He just gets frustrated,' Hillman said. 'He's trying to make us pay attention to details.'
"Gannon, who as a CBS analyst gets to watch practices, said Manning runs the best Friday practices he has seen. (In the NFL, Friday is typically the last practice day before the game, and the most competitive one.)" No, it's not, Wednesday is. Friday's not the most competitive. Who is this guy? You talk to any NFL player when they retire, the first thing they say is "No more Wednesdays." Wednesdays! Friday, you're almost into walk-throughs by Friday. You don't want to get anybody killed before the game. Oh, well.
"In one practice Gannon saw earlier in Manning's career, a pass hit a receiver in the chest. Manning yelled, 'We do not drop balls on Friday!' At another practice, a player ran the wrong depth on a pass route. On the way back to the locker room, Manning rushed over to the receiver to address the mistake before a coach could. 'A coach was probably sitting right there, but at the end of the day, who is steering the ship? It's Peyton,' Gannon said. At practice, the Broncos have a drill in which, as an experiment, players will switch to positions they don't ever play." It's a way to keep practice fresh. This is the kind of thing that will happen on Friday, by the way.
"On one occasion, tight end Jacob Tamme was playing a deep wide receiver --" Tight ends don't go deep, folks, "-- which a blocking tight end like Tamme wouldn't dream of playing. Before the play, Manning saw a coverage from Denver's defense and adjusted Tamme's route. Tamme failed to execute the route perfectly. Manning was angry. Tamme replied, 'I haven't run a route like that in six years.' Manning didn't accept the excuse. 'There was a quick burst of correction,' Tamme said, laughing, 'and then it was onto the next play.' This ceaseless attention to detail extends to the film room, too."
And it goes on. "Manning's use of modern technology is legendary. Last month, a photo of Manning multitasking went viral. He was watching plays on his iPad…while soaking his ankle in a cold tub…with a helmet on. Manning was injured that day, so he listened to the radio of the play calls in his helmet headset while practice went on without him. He refused, teammates say, to be out of the loop for a second."
Remember, now, the premise of the story is how annoying it is to play with Peyton Manning.
Goodell on Health Care and the Redskins
RUSH: I have some audio sound bites of Goodell's press conference today, his State of the NFL press conference. One of the players, active player Vernon Davis, number 85 (I think he's a tight end, receiver for the Fort'iners) asked the commissioner of the NFL why the league cannot provide them health care for life, and the commissioner was asked about the Washington Redskins. He was asked if he would refer to an American Indian as a "Redskin" to his face.
It Won't be Freezing, But It Won't be Super Bowl Weather Either
RUSH: Folks, I hope you have a great weekend and I hope you enjoy the Super Bowl. It'll be fascinating to see how this actually plays out. It's not gonna be freezing cold, but it's not gonna be Super Bowl weather, either.