Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy stated during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday that Peyton Manning became so concerned about the New England Patriots potentially bugging the opposing locker room at Gillette Stadium that he held meetings outside in the hallway.
Dungy didn't know whether the rumors were true, but Manning acted out of caution after talking with former Patriots players. When asked about the speculation, which surfaced from Peter King of Sports Illustrated in 2010 (via Chris Chase of Yahoo Sports), Dungy confirmed it, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk.
"I know that that is very true, and, you know, as Peyton talked to guys who played for the Patriots, some of the guys who came over—whether it’s true or not he treated it as true," Dungy said. "We didn’t have a lot of strategy discussions inside the locker room there."
Manning hasn't enjoyed much success against the Patriots throughout his career. He holds a 6-13 record in 19 meetings during the regular season with an 89.8 quarterback rating, well below his career mark of 97.5. He also lost two playoff games in New England early in his career.
Dungy reiterated he wasn't sure whether the Patriots were using any behind-the-scenes tactics to gain an advantage. The Pro Football Talk report notes teams became more guarded after the Spygate drama back in 2007.
"Peyton takes everything to the nth degree," Dungy said.
Of course, the reigning champion Patriots are back in the spotlight again as the Deflategate process continues to play out in a New York City courtroom. Tom Brady is attempting to get his four-game suspension for his alleged role in the situation overturned.
In all likelihood, there's no basis for fact in the locker room speculation. No evidence has surfaced to suggest the Patriots were using bugs to gain inside information, and Dungy didn't provide any additional details about Manning's conversations with former Patriots.
That said, it does show opponents are a little more leery when facing New England. Even one of the best quarterbacks in history took extra precautions to protect his game plan.