What happens when you call out Peyton Manning publicly and unnecessarily? As Mike Vanderjagt found out the hard way, you get called an “idiot” on National TV during the Pro Bowl.
It almost feels like another lifetime when the New York Jets could be a dominant force in the NFL playoffs, but this was the case in 2003. They embarrassed Peyton Manning and the Colts 41-0 and Indy’s kicker, Mike Vanderjagt, had a lot to say after his team was eliminated.
Appearing on a Canadian program, Vanderjagt boldly called out Manning as well as the Colts’ head coach at the time, Tony Dungy. “Coach Dungy, he’s just a mild-mannered guy,” Vanderjagt said.
“He doesn’t get too excited, he doesn’t get too down and I don’t think that works, either. […] I think you need a motivator, I think you need a guy that is going to get in somebody’s face when they’re not performing well enough.”
Peyton Manning Publicly Ridiculed His Own Kicker On Live TV
Soon after Vanderjagt’s famous comments, which were generally considered to have been the result of intoxication, the kicker apologized. That didn’t stop Manning from getting a word in, though.
During the 2003 Pro Bowl, a reporter caught up with the Sheriff on the sideline and asked him about the recent drama, and Manning did not hold back.
“Here we are, I’m out at my third Pro Bowl, I’m about to go in and throw a touchdown to Jerry Rice, we’re honoring the Hall of Fame, and we’re talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off,” he said.
“What has the sports world come to when we’re talking about idiot kickers? [Vanderjagt] has ruined kickers for life. [David] Akers and [Adam] Vinatieri, these are great guys and they’ve been getting killed all week because our idiot ran his mouth.”
“The sad thing is: he’s a good kicker but he’s an idiot.”
Obviously, Manning would get the last laugh. Vanderlagt was the most accurate kicker in NFL history at the time, but his career saw a sharp decline a couple of years after his comments.
As soon as he left the Colts, Manning and Dungy led the team to Super Bowl victory with, of all people, Adam Vinatieri as their placekicker.