In any team sport, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. Peyton Manning understood this, which meant that he was incredibly demanding of his teammates and coaches.
During his legendary 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning played alongside some brilliant teammates. And while names like Reggie Wayne might come to mind first, Jeff Saturday certainly deserves to be recognized too.
Manning’s longtime center, who he of course shared that heartwarming moment with at the 2012 Pro Bowl, was a key part of the Colts’ success in the 2000s.
Saturday played 13 seasons in Indianapolis, so he definitely has no shortage of Peyton Manning stories. As reported in 2017 by the Indy Star, Saturday recalled how Manning would literally quiz players and coaches on the film they watched and wouldn’t hesitate to call them out if he heard something he didn’t like.
Jeff Saturday Explains Life As a Teammate of Peyton Manning
“The best way to frame him is he was one of the few guys I’ve met in my life who really enjoys the process as much as the success,” Saturday said about his longtime signal caller. “And he drives everybody to be about that.”
“Everybody talks about the hours he spent watching film, which is all true, but he wanted his teammates to do the same thing. I love the fact that he asked questions on Mondays, ‘Hey, Jeff, if they bring this defense, what’s your call going to be here and why? What’s the advantage?'”
“And if he knew you were BSing — coach or player — he’d call you to the carpet. If he knew a guy was jacking around or not paying attention, and wasn’t on the details, he’d undress them right then and there. Coaches too.”
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to most that Manning would berate his teammates, but it’s interesting to see how he demanded accountability from coaches too.
Saturday’s tale is very telling of Manning’s character and the fact that he, like all the other great QBs, was not only great on the gridiron, but also accepted his responsibility as a leader in the locker room.