When you cover the Indianapolis Colts as an NFL correspondent, there’s only one person that you want for a feature interview… Peyton Manning. I would have said two people, but Jim “Playoffs?” Mora is long gone so I’m sticking with Manning on this one. It’s a pretty easy choice. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he’s the face of the Colts franchise, he’s a pretty good actor, a not so good singer, but on occasion… he’s one hell of an interview. While Manning has been known for his wholesome image and positive outlook, he’s been known to speak from the heart when it comes to interviews. Though most interviews are pretty upbeat and positive, Manning doesn’t shy away from using the media as a sounding board when he has something to say. In fact he has done so several times over his career.
In November 2001, Colts head coach Jim Mora gave his infamous “Playoffs?” speech while calling out Peyton Manning for his poor play (Manning tossed 4 interceptions that day leading to a Colts loss). Manning offered a retort to the media a couple of days later when he said “I’m a man… I can take it,” and continued with his reply to coach Mora through the media for several more minutes.
At the Pro Bowl in February 2003, Manning was asked about his teammate Mike Vanderjagt’s comment that Coach Dungy and he had a lack of passion that was responsible for the Colt’s failures to perform in the playoffs. Manning responded by saying, “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…. The sad thing is, Len that he’s a good kicker, but he’s an idiot,” (I just watched this and it still makes me laugh out loud. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone that hasn’t seen/heard it or to anyone that just wants a laugh. Just google it and I’m sure you can find it pretty easy).
Most recently in May of 2009, Manning aired out his frustration with the Colts organization for their lack of communication in dealing with the loss and hiring of the coaching staff and consultants for the upcoming 2009 season. When asked about what he thought of the coaching situation, Peyton told the media, “I can’t tell you what’s going on. I will say I don’t think it’s been the most properly communicated scenario around here. It’s not a situation that I’m just thrilled about. I think the communication has been pretty poor in my opinion. Somebody says one thing, then somebody else says another thing. I’m not sure everybody’s on the same page in the building. I’m just trying to focus on playing quarterback well.” I’m sure that this message was heard loudly by all the new Colts coaching staff, General Manager, and Owner. When Peyton speaks… and speaks through the media, people should listen.
So for these reasons, and the fact that I’m a Colt’s fan that plain and simply wants to interview the best quarterback in Colts history and the primary person responsible for bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis, I would like to interview Peyton Manning. The following is a list of questions I would ask Peyton Manning if given the opportunity.
Q) You’re heading into the 2009 season without Marvin Harrison, Dominic Rhodes, Howard Mudd, Tom Moore, and Tony Dungy. These players and coaches have spent the majority of your career by your side, and have played intricate parts in the success of the Indianapolis Colts over the past 10 years.
Do you think the 2009 Colts (after losing these key players and coaches) have a legitimate shot at making a Super Bowl run, or is it more realistic to think that the Colts will need a few more years to develop young talent to fill the gaps before they Colts are again on top?
Q) You recently expressed some frustration over communications within the Colt’s organization regarding the losses and hiring’s of coaches and consultants.
Who do you think is to blame for the communication issues, and what needs to be done to have the Colts ready to go for 2009?
Q) It also seemed like you may have been a little upset with Tom Moore and Howard Mudd for considering a return to the Colts organization as consultants.
Do you think it will cause more harm than good to have Tom Moore and Howard Mudd to return to the organization as consultants?
Do you think that the newly hired coaching staff would perform better if they didn’t have Moore and Mudd looking over their shoulders questioning them?
Q) You have stated that the newly interim coaches assigned to the staff are trying to learn how to coach while they are coaching.
If the current coaching staff were cemented as the 2009 staff, do you feel comfortable that the Colts would be able to compete and the high level of consistency that they have over the past 10 years?
Q) The 2009 offseason for the Colts has thus far been all about the coaching staff changes, but the Colts have also suffered a few notable player losses in Marvin Harrison, Dominic Rhodes, and punter Hunter Smith.
What are your thoughts on Marvin Harrison? Do you think he’ll ever play again? Do you think he’ll ever play for the Colts again?
Dominic Rhodes seemed to perform pretty well in 2008 and just a couple of years ago was a key factor in winning the Super Bowl. Why do you think he was released by the Colts?
Hunter Smith was a pretty decent punter and has been with the Colts for several years…. I know that you’re not that big on talking about kickers, but is it that easy to replace a punter?
Q) Speaking of Kickers… Mike Vanderjagt is out of the NFL and playing with a Canadian football team. He was at one time one the best in the NFL and historically one of the most accurate NFL kickers of all time.
Do you think he’ll ever play in the NFL again, and would you welcome him back to the Colts?
Q) Okay… enough about kickers. Let’s talk quarterbacks.
I’d be a little upset with myself if I didn’t get a comment from you about Brett Farve. Well… not really about Brett Farve, but about his situation.
If at some point you find yourself in the later years of your career, the Colts have a young up-and-coming QB that they want to start getting playing time, and the cost of keeping you around makes it more difficult to keep a team intact… How do you think you’ll handle that?
Do you think that situation is inevitable for every quarterback?
Would you consider playing for another team?
Q) What’s more fun?
Playing football with the Colts, playing golf with Tiger Woods, or singing with Kenny Chesney?
Q) When you do finally retire from football… what would be more likely in your future plans?
Golf, Singing, Acting, Sports Analyst, NFL Coach?
Q) What would be more satisfying?
Winning the Super Bowl or Beating your brother in a Super Bowl?