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Going into Detail: Peyton Manning dissects Eli’s game-winning drive – New York Giants Blog


The New York Giants stuck with Eli Manning as their starting quarterback out of the bye week. He responded with his first three-touchdown effort of the season.

Manning finished 19-of-31 passing for 188 yards in the 27-23 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night. He led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final minute. That was exactly what his big brother Peyton, who was at the game, was looking for from his latest subject.

So no better time for Peyton to make his brother the spotlight of his latest “Detail,” where he breaks down quarterback play. The Giants rallied from a 20-10 second-half deficit to end a five-game skid, and Eli Manning led his 36th game-winning drive, third most since 2004.

“I hope he’ll go easy on me,” Eli said with a smile earlier in the week. He added he probably wouldn’t watch it regardless. Peyton was mostly complimentary, except maybe about his brother’s blocking.

Here’s a quick recap of Peyton’s breakdown of Eli:

The two-minute drill

Peyton was especially impressed with what the Giants and his brother did as they drove 75 yards on nine plays for the winning score. Not that he was surprised.

“To do it in two Super Bowls, I can promise you Eli doesn’t feel pressure in these two-minute situations,” said Peyton, who earlier noted watching his brother throw a game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl was his greatest football moment. “Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing. A famous Chuck Noll quote.”

Peyton called a 31-yard pass to Evan Engram early in the drive, a “cool play” that he had never seen before. Engram looked to be blocking for Saquon Barkley on a swing or screen pass before he exploded into a route deep down the right sideline. Eli hit him with a crucial strike that quickly put them in 49ers territory.

Peyton then marveled at the throw, play call and route run by Barkley on a key 23-yard completion later in the drive. It was a variation of an earlier play in the drive where Eli threw incomplete to Barkley. But this time, Eli hit Barkley on an angle route that Peyton says was set up by a play from earlier in the drive.

“What a great call here at the perfect time. I know it’s a short throw, and you’re going to say, ‘Ah, he’s kissing his butt because he’s his brother and related to him.’ But I don’t care if this was Bob Avellini, Steve Fuller or Casey Weldon making this throw, guys that I’m not related to. It was a good throw. This was a sidearm throw, negotiating the defender.”

He later added: “If this ball gets batted or incomplete, it will make you sick. So great job retreating, making this little sidearm flip throw to Barkley on the run. This is a runner’s ball. … Nice execution. Great route by Barkley. He’s a good route runner. He can catch the ball. He’s got some Marshall Faulk in him.”

The impressive throws

Peyton broke down a slant on the first play of the game where he thought Odell Beckham Jr. might have taken it for a touchdown had he not dropped the pass. He saw quality footwork and a perfectly placed throw from Eli to Beckham on the Giants’ first touchdown. He dissected why Eli threw a dime on a rollout in the first half. He noted an impressive “arm throw” on a third-down completion to Corey Coleman on a third-down play in the second quarter. He said Eli recognized confusion in the 49ers secondary that led to Beckham’s second touchdown. There were a lot of unique observations from a quarterback’s perspective that wouldn’t cross the average fan’s mind while watching the game.

Odell uncovered?

There was a play late in the first half where it appeared the 49ers left Beckham completely unattended near the end zone. The Giants ran Barkley for a one-yard gain on third down. Peyton reiterated what coach Pat Shurmur said publicly this week: Eli made the right call to kill the pass play for the run. Both safeties were deep in the end zone, and San Francisco was in a zone defense where Peyton thought the middle linebacker was trying to goad Eli into throwing to Beckham. If not for a miscommunication up front, Barkley would have walked into the end zone on the running play, per Peyton. He didn’t. Instead, Beckham was left uncovered in the end zone watching the failed play.

The block

There was a play when Eli, kind of, blocked for wide receiver Sterling Shepard on a successful end around. The defender fell to the ground. Peyton said Eli probably considered it a pancake block. Still, his brother wasn’t impressed.

“I don’t know about this block, E,” Peyton said. “Once again, I have no room to talk about blocks but he probably gets credit for a pancake. But if you watch in slow motion, the 49ers guy probably knocks the other guy down.”

He said that …

“First thing, he’s kind of wiping that windshield with his left hand and elbowing the short guy with his left elbow, and then he’s flicking the booger off with the right hand. You kind of have to turn your hand out, your fingers out, so the booger will fall off. If you turn it in, the booger is going to stick. There is your classic throwing motion. If I have the arm, I’m going to try and fit it in there. But let’s don’t make a habit out of there. But every now and then you have to make arm throws, talent throws and fit it in there in tight coverage. E-Man does it right there and keeps this drive alive.”



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Going into Detail: Peyton Manning’s takeaways on Baker Mayfield’s film – Cleveland Browns Blog


When the Cleveland Browns selected quarterback Baker Mayfield with the first pick of the 2018 draft, they initially said he would backup Tyrod Taylor.

That plan lasted until Week 3, when Mayfield went into the lineup after Taylor suffered a concussion against the New York Jets. All Mayfield did that Thursday night was help the Browns end their 19-game winless streak with a 21-17 victory over the Jets.

Mayfield has started the past six games. Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs was Mayfield’s first outing since the Browns fired coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is the team’s interim coach, with Freddie Kitchens calling the plays.

The loss to the Chiefs is the focus of the fourth installment of the ESPN+ show Detail with Peyton Manning.

Here’s a quick recap of Manning’s breakdown of Mayfield:

Been there, done that

Manning, who was the No. 1 pick in the 1998 draft, knows how Mayfield feels being tossed into the lineup for a struggling team.

“Certainly not an ideal situation for a rookie quarterback, already having a new head coach and new offensive coordinator in the middle of a season,” Manning said. “First pick of the NFL draft, I know those shoes. People expect a lot. They expect you to come in and be this dominant player right away. There’s a reason you’re the first pick of the draft. You’re going to a team that has earned that first pick of the draft — you’re going to be the bad team.”

Manning’s Colts went 3-13 in his rookie season. He took every snap and threw what is still a rookie-record 28 interceptions.

Manning said Mayfield’s approach this rookie season has reminded him of “Brett Favre, for his enthusiasm and love for the game.”

Disregard the audible

Manning used an incompletion from the Browns loss to show how he would call a “dummy audible” or go in the huddle and tell the rest of the offense to “disregard the audible.”

It showed a side of Manning’s game that defenders said made him one of the all-time best. They had to try to determine at the line of scrimmage how much of Manning’s hand movements and cadence actually meant something and how much was just for show.

“Animal House”

Talking about the “squirrel route” — the out, up and out — and how he doesn’t know why they call it a squirrel route, Manning showed his propensity to quote the movies he enjoys.

He used a reference to John Belushi’s character in “Animal House:” “Told the pledge in Animal House your nickname is Pinto, he said, ‘Why Pinto?’ and he said, ‘Why not?'”

“So it’s called squirrel. I don’t know why, but why not?”

Manning also stumbled a bit on “anticipatory” and offered, “I’m not even sure it’s a word,” but he made a quality point on how a Mayfield throw to Jarvis Landry required some patience.

The free hand

Manning pointed out Mayfield’s attention to detail with something Manning took great pride in during his career: making the play-action fake and the handoff look the same. Manning pointed out what defenders are looking for and explained why Mayfield’s was such a quality effort.

“I like the effort, and I like the discipline. Don’t be afraid, quarterbacks, to study good play-action quarterbacks,” he said.

I really like this throw

Manning also commended Mayfield’s footwork on a quick slant with a three-step drop out of the shotgun, something Manning remembered from the preseason.

Manning showed a drill for quarterbacks who want to learn how to get to the laces quickly on quick passes to the middle of the field.

About the nightmares

As he pointed out where Mayfield should have put the ball on a play, Manning also showed why, with his own interceptions by the likes of Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu, as he made a point about the range of the game’s best safeties.

“I’m going to quit bringing their names up — I won’t be able to sleep tonight,” Manning said. “ … You got to respect these safeties and their ability to cover ground.”

Manning also gave a shout-out to daughter Mosley’s fantasy football team, “The New Sheriff,” because he gave a shout-out to son Marshall’s team last week.

They study

Manning zeroed in on another piece of technique near and dear to his heart: discipline with your hands as a quarterback.

As he gave Mayfield props in the run game earlier with his technique, Manning pointed out the other side of the coin. Mayfield had his hands at his side until he raised them just before the snap. Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford used the move as a tell to time the snap, get to Mayfield and knock the ball out.

“They study your pre-snap mannerisms,” Manning said. “ … Let’s be sure we’re doing the same things.”

Lesson on clock management

Spoken like a true quarterback, Manning used a completion by Mayfield in the two-minute drive to show how the receiver should have handed the ball to the umpire instead of leaving it on the ground and how it would have saved valuable time for the offense.

He also expressed his disdain for wasted timeouts, especially timeouts by the defense “because you don’t know the call.”

He went on to say, “I’m just gonna say it. Those are really the offense’s timeouts, OK? I know you have three timeouts a half, but it’s really the offense that has the three timeouts, all right? That’s just the way it is.”



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Peyton Manning breaks down Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes


It’s no secret that Patrick Mahomes has taken the NFL by storm in leading the Kansas City Chiefs to an 8-1 start. But how does the second-year quarterback fare in film study broken down by all-time NFL passing touchdown leader and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning? In his third installment of the ESPN+ show Detail, Manning pores over Mahomes’ game tape from a Week 8 victory over the Denver Broncos.

You can watch the Mahomes episode here, and here are previous episodes featuring Matthew Stafford and Josh Rosen. But for those of you wanting a CliffsNotes version, here are some highlights of Manning’s on Mahomes.

Manning has no idea what to call Mahomes

During the intro, Manning fumbles over what name to use for the second-year quarterback from Texas Tech, then decides that it doesn’t actually matter: “We’re going to take a look at Patrick Mahomes, Pat Mahomes, whatever you want to call him. Let’s just call him ‘hot quarterback on fire that’s out there slinging it all over the place who has been a lot of fun to watch.'”

I personally think “Patrick” or “Pat” are easier to say, but Manning had 71,940 yards, 539 passing touchdowns and two Super Bowl rings, so we’ll defer to him.

Manning doesn’t do the option

Manning looks off the viewer by starting to analyze an option play Mahomes executed before showing some self-awareness and realizing that he, not the speediest of quarterbacks in his day, probably isn’t the best guy to break down option plays.

Get Pereira and Blandino on the phone

In probably the funniest rant of the 26-minute episode, Peyton gets on his soapbox and criticizes the NFL for its discrepancy on assessing penalty yardage near the goal line.

“How come when we jump offsides, we have to go back five yards, but when the defense jumps, we only get half the distance? Explain that to me! Get [Mike] Pereira and [Dean] Blandino analyzing that in their new suits that they get each week.”

Not exactly Montana to Clark

At the 10:45 mark, Manning identifies that the Chiefs were running “Sprint Right Option,” which the San Francisco 49ers ran on Joe Montana’s famous game-winning touchdown pass to Dwight Clark in the 1982 NFC Championship Game, on a play deep in Denver territory. So did Mahomes and Travis Kelce come up with a touchdown on this play?

Not exactly.

The Chiefs’ version ends in an inaccurate incomplete pass, which Manning attributes to Tyreek Hill‘s late start off the line of scrimmage after the snap, which prevents him from attracting attention along the goal line and freeing up Kelce in the back of the end zone.

Peyton Manning hates fumbled snaps

Mahomes fumbled a snap on a fourth-and-goal from the Broncos’ 1, which was nullified by a false start before the play. But that didn’t stop Manning from going on a tangent about fumbled snaps.

“One fumbled snap per season is one too many,” he said. He also went on to talk about the number of snap reps he took with Jeff Saturday and proudly talked about the fact that he and Saturday never fumbled an exchange during the monsoon that was Super Bowl XLI.

Fantasy points for “Marshall Law”

Mahomes threw a touchdown pass to Kelce, which Manning lauded because his son, Marshall, had Kelce on his fantasy team. He didn’t indicate whether “Marshall Law” was part of a PPR league, though.

Receivers need to quiet down

While Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris was wide open in the middle of the field on a “free play” after the Broncos jumped offside, Manning did not appreciate Harris waving his hands at Mahomes to try to get the quarterback’s attention. I wonder how many times Dallas Clark and Reggie Wayne tried that move.

Manning praises Mahomes’ “detail”

The Chiefs ran a “1-2-3” route late in the game, a route combination Manning mentioned during the Rosen episode of Detail. Mahomes makes the correct decision, looking off Demarcus Robinson — the “1” — before hitting the “2,” Sammy Watkins, on a short crossing route. Manning attributes this to Mahomes’ viewership of the show: “Obviously Mahomes watched Detail and learned that.”

‘Learn not to be so competitive’

Mahomes’ one big mistake during the film session came when he tried to force a ball to a covered Kelce, which was overthrown and resulted in a Broncos interception. Manning’s advice was for Mahomes to “learn not to be so competitive” on every play, and he shared some advice from Duke coach David Cutcliffe, who was Manning’s offensive coordinator at Tennessee.

“The most important thing about every single play is that we possess the ball at the end of that play,” Cutcliffe said.



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Peyton Manning on new season of “Detail” with Kobe Bryant


Former NFL star Peyton Manning will join Kobe Bryant’s show “Detail” as the program expands into NFL analysis this fall.

Bryant, who won an Academy Award for his animated short film “Dear Basketball,” breaks down the NBA for the show — which appears on ESPN+. He will return later in the 2018-19 season for a second series of shows.

Manning will host, write and share insights for the football version of “Detail,” which will be edited by NFL Films. The eight-episode series will also appear exclusively on ESPN+.

“I’ve always enjoyed talking football with coaches, players and passionate fans, and that’s at the core of this show,” Manning said in a statement. “I’m honored to help expand Kobe’s Detail to a football audience.”

The first episode will air Thursday and will break down Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen‘s game against the Vikings on Oct. 14.

In addition to covering the NFL, “Detail” will also unveil a UFC edition in the future.

“The concept behind Detail is centered around helping athletes get better, so it made perfect sense to expand the show to other sports,” said Bryant, founder of Granity Studios and executive producer of “Detail.” “Peyton was my first call to be the NFL athlete due to his unrelenting preparation and study of his craft. The next generation of football players will learn first-hand how one of the greatest players of all time objectively breaks down a game. It’s the ultimate film session for anyone who wants to learn and improve.”

Manning is a five-time NFL MVP who retired in 2016 after winning the Super Bowl with the Broncos.



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Drew Brees passes Peyton Manning as NFL’s all-time passing leader


NEW ORLEANS — Drew Brees became the NFL’s all-time passing leader on Monday night, and he did it in spectacular fashion.

Brees broke Peyton Manning’s record of 71,940 career passing yards with a 62-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith in the second quarter of a 43-19 rout over the Washington Redskins.

Better yet, the New Orleans Saints’ 39-year-old quarterback had one of the best performances of his 18-year career, completing 23 of 26 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns. His completion percentage of 89.7 was a career best. And he did it in front of both the home crowd in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and a Monday Night Football audience.

“It played out even greater than I ever could’ve imagined,” said Brees, who added he had tried to rehearse the moment in his mind during the week — but still got caught up in the emotion when the NFL stopped the game as planned to recognize his achievement. Brees hugged teammates on the field, then pointed and blew kisses to the fans. He handed the ball to Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker on the sideline and shared hugs and kisses with his wife, Brittany, his four children and coach Sean Payton, among others.

“There’s so many people that are responsible and had a hand in that,” Brees told ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the game when asked what the record means to him. “The two people that are most responsible for my football career, early on, my mom and my grandpa, are up in heaven.

“There were a lot of people I wanted to prove right tonight, but none more so than them. I know they are watching down on me.”

Brees, who was mic’d up for the game, was captured on the sideline telling his kids right after the play, “You can accomplish anything in life you’re willing to work for, right?”

His three sons also joined him in the postgame locker room and media conference.

Brees said he had 178 text messages and counting at that point.

“It’s hard for me to reflect too much right now because my career’s not done,” Brees said. “There are still goals to be accomplished, there are still challenges to be met. So I’m still very focused on that. And yet when something like this happens, and there’s so many people that are responsible for that, that can be a part of that, that makes me happy.

“It makes me proud, and it makes me extremely grateful for the opportunity to play this game and to have played it as long as I’ve been able to play it, to have wound up in New Orleans, which you all know that story. So it’s just been an unbelievable journey and I’m just so grateful.”

Manning also congratulated Brees with a video message that was both hilarious and heartfelt. He joked that he held the record for 1,000 days and they were the best 1,000 days of his life — and “you’ve ruined that for me.” Manning also held up a picture he and Brees took together in 2000 and said they’ve come a long way.

“In true Peyton fashion,” Brees said. “He always is very creative.”

The play itself was the only part of the moment that went off script.

Smith wasn’t actually the intended receiver on the play. But Payton credited Brees for making the “alert throw” after seeing how the defense reacted.

Smith said the Saints ran a similar play earlier in the game — but the pass went to Cameron Meredith instead. Brees said it was a new play the Saints had come up with to flood a zone and “maybe someone pops open.”

It was Smith’s first career TD catch. But he said he is perfectly happy that he’ll have to go to Canton, Ohio, to see the ball.

Brees, on the other hand, now has 499 TD passes — fourth in NFL history and one behind Tom Brady.

Brees is the unlikeliest of all-time great quarterbacks — just 6 feet tall, barely recruited out of high school, he fell to the San Diego Chargers in the second round of the NFL draft out of Purdue in 2001 and was doubted by most of the league when he became a free agent after a career-threatening shoulder injury in 2005.

But that’s when he came to New Orleans and his career took off. Brees and Payton have formed one of the most prolific offensive duos in NFL history over the past 13 years — including a Super Bowl victory after the 2009 season.

Brees also holds the NFL records for most career completions and highest completion percentage. He set the single-season passing yardage record in 2011 with 5,476 (before Manning passed him by one yard in 2013). And he has thrown for more than 5,000 yards five times over the past decade — something no other quarterback has ever done more than once.

“He deserves it,” Payton said. “An unbelievable run and it doesn’t feel like it’s been 12 or 13 years. It feels like it’s been much shorter than that.

“I think the thing that’s inspiring most is knowing what’s most important to him and that common goal that we have relative to winning another championship. … All the actual hardware, the different bats [to signify big games or moments], those all get dust. But it’s about these memories right now. Someone like that, as special as that is tonight and what he’s accomplished, that’s what you miss when you’re done.”



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Peyton Manning visits Jon Gruden and Derek Carr at Oakland Raiders training camp


NAPA, Calif. Peyton Manning visited the Oakland Raiders training camp practice on Thursday and having once played for Jon Gruden in the 2001 Pro Bowl, Manning sees the same coach 17-plus years later that he did in Hawaii.

“Being a football junkie, Jon and I kind of speak the same language,” Manning said after taking in practice. “So I know he’s happy and it’s good for football that he’s back in the game.”

Manning, who is on a speaking circuit, said he reached out to Gruden when he saw his tour was bringing him to San Francisco, to see if he could get his “football fix for the summer.” Gruden invited him to camp in Napa, about 50 miles northeast of the city, and Manning sat in on the Raiders’ quarterback meeting Thursday morning.

“Peyton’s one of my favorite all-time (players) and he’s one of the best to ever play the game so just to pick his mind … I took full advantage of today,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who is learning his third different offensive system in four years.

“Just after whatever drill, I’d go, ‘Hey, how was the communication? How was the execution?’ And he’d give his feedback, you know? To have that, from someone like Peyton, I think that’s kind of invaluable.”

The feeling was mutual.

“I really like Derek,” said Manning, who said he also sat in with Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota in Nashville last week. “I’ve just known him a little bit from playing against him, but Jon let me sit in the quarterback meeting this morning and you can tell he loves it and he is very engaged and, obviously, trying to learn a new system, which is a challenge. But one thing about Jon Gruden, he loves football and so everybody playing for him better love it, too.

“And when your quarterback loves it, and you can tell Carr does, it shows. I pull for quarterbacks; it’s a unique fraternity and I think the NFL needs good quarterbacks, especially young quarterbacks, and they’ve got a really good one in Derek, for sure.”

Did Manning offer any advice in the QB meeting?

“I’m not a coach, I just enjoy sitting in,” he said. “I’ve never considered myself a coach, but I guess you’re always kind of paying it forward. So if anybody has a question about the no-huddle offense or calling audibles, yeah, I’m glad to (help).”

Part of the reason Gruden came back to coach the Raiders was the chance to work with Carr. Manning said he always expected Gruden, who spent the past nine years in the booth for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” to return to the sidelines.

“I could always tell,” said Manning, who remembered then-Indianapolis Colts executive Bill Polian trying to relegate Gruden to a corner of the field during practice before a Monday Night game because even Polian “knew he would coach again. ‘I don’t want to give him all our secrets and stuff.'”

“Broadcasting, I’d see him when he’d do games and I’d say, ‘How you doing, Jon?’ He’d say, ‘Doing great. I haven’t lost a game in six years.’ And I’d say, ‘But you haven’t won one, either.’ I could tell he always thought about that. When you’re not playing, you certainly don’t have the pain of losing a game, but you don’t get the thrill and exhilaration of winning a game.”

Manning felt that excitement of winning under Gruden in that Pro Bowl, on Feb. 4, 2001, with the AFC’s 38-17 victory.

“Just that one week at the Pro Bowl … it was a little more intense and serious, but that week guys wanted to kind of run through a wall just for him as our Pro Bowl Hawaiian coach,” Manning said. “Partially because he bought all the beer for all the players, which is smart. I think it helped him in free agency a few years later.

“Ultimately, I think the role of any coach is to get his players to play hard for him. And there’s different ways. Tony Dungy, you had so much respect for him, you didn’t want to disappoint him so we played hard for him and it was a very effective way of leading. And I think Jon, just his passion for it, it shows. He wears it on his sleeve and players will respond to that.”





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Hunter S. Thompson told Indianadpolis Colts owner Jim Irsay to take Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning


What if Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had taken the advice of journalist Hunter S. Thompson, received a $30 million loan from him and selected Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning with No. 1 overall pick in 1998?

There likely wouldn’t have been the playoff appearances, the Super Bowl appearances or Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis had Irsay listened to Thompson 20 years ago.

Leaf, an NFL bust who was taken by San Diego at No. 2, added another twist in the Manning or Leaf 1998 draft debate at the time. Leaf tweeted Thursday a picture of the letter he recently received where the late Thompson sent Irsay saying he wouldn’t give the Colts owner a $30 million loan for Manning, but he would do it if Indianapolis selected Leaf and made him its franchise quarterback.

“(Leaf) looks strong & Manning doesn’t — or at least not strong enough to handle that ‘Welcome to the NFL’ business for two years without a world-class offensive line,” Thompson wrote in the letter to Irsay a month before the 1998 draft.

Irsay and Thompson, author of noted works such as “Hell’s Angels” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” developed a relationship when he insisted that the owner buy a $2.43 million scroll of “On the Road” done by Jack Kerouac in 2001.

It’s a good thing that Thompson wasn’t able to sway Irsay when it came to choosing between Leaf and Manning. Manning led the Colts to a 141-67 record, the playoffs 11 times, eight seasons of at least 12 victories, the Super Bowl twice, winning one of those appearances. A statue of Manning was unveiled outside of Lucas Oil Stadium in 2017 and is expected to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2020.

Leaf? He flamed out, lasting just three seasons in the NFL while throwing a total of 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.





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Hunter S. Thompson told Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay to take Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning


What if Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had taken the advice of journalist and author Hunter S. Thompson, received a $30 million loan from him and selected Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft?

There probably wouldn’t have been the playoff games, the Super Bowl appearances or Lucas Oil Stadium in downtown Indianapolis had Irsay listened to Thompson 20 years ago.

Leaf, an NFL bust who was taken by the San Diego Chargers at No. 2, added another twist in the Manning vs. Leaf draft debate from 1998. Leaf tweeted Thursday a picture he recently received of the letter that the late Thompson sent Irsay saying he wouldn’t give the Colts owner a $30 million loan for Manning, but he would do it if Indianapolis selected Leaf and made Leaf its franchise quarterback.

“[Leaf] looks strong & Manning doesn’t — or at least not strong enough to handle that ‘Welcome to the NFL’ business for two years without a world-class offensive line,” Thompson wrote in the letter to Irsay a month before the 1998 draft.

Irsay and Thompson, author of noted works such as “Hell’s Angels” and “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and also an ESPN contributor who died in 2005, had developed a relationship when Thompson insisted in 2001 that the team owner buy at auction a $2.43 million scroll of “On the Road” done by Jack Kerouac.

Thompson wrapped up the Manning-Leaf letter by stating, “I expect to be very rich when this depp movie comes out,” referencing the 1998 film adaptation of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” starring Johnny Depp. The cult classic failed at the box office, costing an estimated $18.5 million to make and grossing $10.7 million in the United States, according to IMDB.com figures.

It’s a good thing that Thompson wasn’t able to sway Irsay when it came to choosing between Leaf and Manning.

Manning led the Colts to a 141-67 record, the playoffs 11 times, eight seasons of at least 12 victories and the Super Bowl twice, winning one of those appearances. A statue of Manning was unveiled outside Lucas Oil Stadium in 2017, and he is expected to be a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible in 2020.

Leaf? He flamed out, lasting only three seasons in the NFL while throwing a total of 14 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.





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Peyton Manning says Drew Brees deserves NFL record for career passing yards


Peyton Manning knows it’s not a matter of “if” New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees will break his NFL record for career passing yards.

“It’s just a matter of when,” Manning told NOLA.com on Friday during the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

“He deserves it. He’s been a great player for a long time,” said Manning, who first met Brees in 1998 when he was a rookie with the Indianapolis Colts and Brees was playing nearby at Purdue.

“Obviously, he’s just been the ultimate pro, taking care of himself, being in great shape. Credit to him for playing as long as he has at such a high level,” Manning continued. “He’s just been a great model of consistency, what he and Sean [Payton] have been able to do together for [12] years now.”

Manning retired after the 2015 season with 71,940 career passing yards and 539 touchdown passes — both all-time NFL marks.

But Brees, 39, needs just 1,496 yards to pass Manning — which should take him five or six more games. As Brees pointed out recently, “There’s a reason they put [the Saints’ Week 5 game] on Monday night. I don’t think any of us are dummies.”

It will take Brees a little bit longer to break Manning’s touchdown record. Brees is still 51 TD passes behind Manning — so he won’t get there until 2019 at the earliest.

Manning told NOLA.com that the TD mark “probably has a little bit more meaning for a quarterback, because it means you got six points and you’re doing something good for your team. … Yards, as you all know, can be a little bit misleading because it doesn’t necessarily mean winning games.”

“I know Drew feels the same way — you never play for individual records,” Manning said. “Drew has been the ultimate team player. It’s all about helping your team win. I know when he breaks any of these records, it’s not going to mean as much to him if the Saints don’t win the game that day.”



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Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning believes “reps” are the key to Andrew Luck returning to form


DUBLIN, Ohio — Their injuries were different, but future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning knows all too well about the mental obstacle Andrew Luck will face from missing a full season.

All indications are Luck will be back with the Indianapolis Colts next season after missing all of 2017 with a right shoulder problem, which he originally injured in Week 3 of the 2015 season. Manning missed the 2011 season with a neck injury. That season was the final one of his 13-year career with the Colts.

“Everything is an individual thing, so you have to be careful speaking on it since injuries are different,” Manning told ESPN after participating in Wednesday’s Pro-Am at the Memorial in Ohio. “But it’s also universal. For me, I was a [repetition] guy. I liked to get all the reps on practice. The theory of 10,000 reps, I believe in that. I felt like I was kind of behind because I hadn’t gotten the reps even though you have a lot in the bank. It took me a few games before I felt like I was coming back. Getting as many reps as possible is key.”

The issue Luck currently faces is that he’s taking part in the team’s offseason workouts to only a certain extent. He currently can’t get all those reps because he hasn’t thrown a football since October 2017.

Colts coach Frank Reich said on May 23 that he anticipates Luck will start throwing during the time between the end of minicamp on June 14 and the start of training camp in late July. At that point, if things go as planned, Luck will increase his reps with his teammates so that they can potentially hit the ground running at the start of training camp. If he’s ready to throw to teammates at that time, he’ll have to do it away from the team’s facility.

Luck, who has admitted he pressed too hard in an attempt to return last season, missed 26 games over the past three years, and he needs as many reps as possible with his skill position players because he’s in the process of learning Reich’s offense, which he brought with him from Philadelphia.

“For me, coming off missing the entire year with the neck, I knew I was going to have to play a different kind of way, a different sort of physical state,” Manning said. “I was looking for things like positive feedback from receivers on whether the ball felt the same coming in and then when you get into the game and you throw a deep out. We played a preseason game and I threw a deep comeback route, and that was a thing to check off the box. You want to do everything for the first time again. You want to get hit, you want to make a tight throw, have a two-minute drive. I wanted to do all those things again.”

Luck replaced Manning as the face of the Colts when the franchise made him the No. 1 overall pick in 2012. The two have remained friends over the years.

“I’m pulling for Andrew’s return,” Manning said. “I stay in touch with him. I came to the combine. He and I sat down for two to three hours and talked about in-season routine, offseason routine.”



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