Peyton Manning was one of the most focused and competitive people on the field during his historic career. And this dates back to his time in High School.
Peyton Manning had one of the most prolific careers in NFL history. His accumulated list of accolades is lengthy, but includes items like 5x MVP, 7x first team All-Pro, and 14x Pro-Bowler. And despite his easygoing persona, Manning reached his level of greatness by being incredibly competitive both on and off the field.
And this might be because of his relationship with his High School Coach.
Manning grew up in Louisiana and went high school at Isidore Newman in New Orleans during his early years, and there he was under coach Billy Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was something of a legend as he had won five state titles for the team in basketball and another two for baseball.
Peyton Manning getting the baseball team fired up before taking the field tonight. #Vols
— Trey Wallace (@TreyWallace_) May 15, 2021
Peyton played both basketball and baseball under his High School HC. But unlike his teammates, he would not back down from speaking his mind in front of Coach Fitzgerald.
This led to some very intense moments between the 2.
Peyton Manning would butt heads with Billy Fitzgerald.
Manning’s high school teammate Mike Keck opened up about Manning’s relationship with Coach Billy Fitzgerald.
“The 6-foot-5 “Coach Fitz” was a commanding presence whose decisions from the sideline or dugout were seldom questioned. Then along came Manning.”
“Peyton was a pretty intense, competitive personality as well,” Keck said. “I always thought to myself, man, when coach Fitz is upset you just kind of nod your head and, ‘How soon can we move on and get out of here?’ Peyton, he would butt heads with him. He would go after him, they would get into it with each other. They were very competitive.
“Those who played basketball probably noticed the most tension between those two. It was all healthy. It was all in the pursuit of excellence. But I remember they would get into it, and I was like, man, he’s the guy who makes me run wind sprints. I’m not going to fight with that guy. I just tried to get out of there as quickly as I could. I didn’t have the guts to have words and decide I had something to say back to him.”
It’s that competitiveness that has helped Manning remain one of the best players in the NFL despite being 39 years old and having been through multiple neck surgeries that have left him with a sub-par arm.