In his second season as the head of the Denver Broncos offensive line, elite quarterback Peyton Manning will be returning to Lucas Oil Stadium to play his old team, the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football. In the expected Manning fashion, Peyton is keeping it classy and focusing on football.
All week the story has been three sides –Irsay and Fox’s back and forth; how Manning “feels” about playing his old team again, and how his replacement, Andrew Luck, will measure up against Manning.
All Manning cares about is playing the game, as he has made perfectly clear over the years. Every attempt to get a sound bite of Manning speaking poorly of his old team, or expressing discontent with the split from the Colts has failed. Manning is not going to engage. He is not going to pontificate. He is not going to rant, rave or fuss.
Manning is going to play football.
Peyton Manning is not the one making a big deal about his return to Indy. He is working with his team, his receivers, running backs, and O-line.
Manning is doing what Manning does –preparing for the next game with single-minded purpose. Manning is known as a thinking man, a chess player on the field. His work every week gives aspiring players motivation and hopes that they can become an elite quarterback as well.
Manning continues to side-step, deflect, and simply not answer questions about his “feelings” concerning the game tonight. In their hunger for any kind of response, the press has even questioned father Archie Manning who replied, ”I’m staying out of that mess.”
So Peyton has got his aversion to media hoopla and hype honest. He is respectful of his opponents and their abilities. He takes nothing for granted and tries to foresee every possibility that may come up. He pays attention to anomalies and makes adjustments as needed as the game progresses. This man is not interested in becoming involved in the media’s word-war. Even Coach Fox has withdrawn from the verbal battlefield and is presenting his normal demeanor to the media.
In situations like this, it is safe to say the issue is a non-issue and the media’s attempt to make more of a few words than was meant is once again distracting from the business at hand. Manning and the Broncos are on top of the league for a reason. They take their cues from Manning and Fox. Neither the Colts nor the Broncos are where they are by allowing the media to interfere with their focus.
Luck has not weighed in. Manning has weighed in. Fox and Irsay have backed off. All that remains is to do what both teams do every week during the season. Any unresolved issues between Manning and the Colts will be laid to rest. Any homesickness or resentment Manning may have towards Irsay is being kept in check. Manning made the decision to keep his feelings about tonight’s game out of the media whirlwind and that’s the way it should be.
Manning is keeping it classy and staying on the job. Everything that needs to be said will be said during the game tonight.
Commentary by: Brandi Tasby