It’s been a while since Peyton Manning last threw a football in the NFL, but he left us with a lot to remember about him, including his never-ending audibles.
Peyton Manning played out one of the greatest NFL careers ever between 1998 and 2016. Entering the league as the highly touted son of Archie Manning and 1st overall pick in the ’98 draft, Manning had a lot to live up to from the get go.
And that’s exactly what he did. If you fast forward 18 years from the night the Colts took a chance on him, you’re left with one of the NFL’s most decorated players of all time.
The Sheriff won 5 league MVPs (more than any other player), earned 14 Pro Bowl selections, and even secured the Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2012 after a horrific neck injury sidelined him for the entire 2011 season.
However, his most important accolades come in the form of his 2 Super Bowl victories, one as a Colt in 2007 and the other as a Bronco in 2016. But despite all the success he’s had and the influence he continues to assert over the sport, Manning once predicted that his most memorable characteristic would be a particularly strange one.
Peyton Manning Believed That Fans Would Remember Him for His Lengthy Audibles
During his 18 years in the league, one of Manning’s mannerisms could have annoyed fans, teammates, and defenders alike. Obviously, I’m referring to his incredibly thorough pre-snap adjustments.
Once Manning got to the line of scrimmage, he often took his time before asking Jeff Saturday to snap the ball. He would shout audibles into the ears of his linemen, sometimes doing so twice on road games just to make sure they heard him, play mind games with defenders, and do all sorts of crazy movements to communicate with his receivers.
Obviously, he soon became well-known for his antics. Opposing defenses tried their best to decipher his actions, but usually came up empty handed because he would use bogus calls to throw them off guard.
When he spoke about his pre-snap behavior in an interview years ago, Manning had an interesting way of summarizing it. “I think about quarterbacks and their defining legacy, and you think about Dan Marino,” he explained. “It’s just the quick release.”
“And [John] Elway it’s the ‘sprint right, throw back across left’. And [Joe] Montana it’s the classic throwing motion and the 2 minute drives. For me I think it’s gonna be this [mimics actions], pick my nose, ears, you know? All these things that I do.”
“I don’t know if I want that to be my legacy, but that is what we have to do. It’s what is required of the quarterback to get things communicated.”
And while Manning’s description of his split-second adjustments was simply a light-hearted way of explaining his play style, he certainly left a legacy behind through his crazy audibles.
They serve as a great reminder of what a QB needs to do in the NFL to become an all-time great. They need to spend the hours in the film room to understand defenses, they need to have the awareness to make crucial adjustments, and they need to be the leader of the offense.
So if Manning’s defining legacy is indeed just “picking his nose” pre-snap, it’s definitely still a meaningful one to have.