The Monday Night Football Manning-cast rolled into Week Two last night, and Peyton wasted no time tossing a few tongue-in-cheek cheating accusations towards his old rival, the Patriots.
The ESPN2 version of the game presents itself as just two brothers exchanging war stories and opinions, and that’s exactly what fans are getting, so nothing they say should really be taken too seriously. But the ease and comfortability of the broadcast is actually drawing out a lot of candor from the Mannings and their guests, so maybe astute fans can glean more truth from this “silly” broadcast than they can from a “serious” one.
Peyton held no punches when discussing the Patriots and their home stadium in Foxborough.
“Every time I played against New England, I used to talk to my receivers in the showers,” Manning said. “Don’t talk about a play next to my locker because I know it’s bugged. I know it’s got a hot mic in there. Very strange to see seven guys hanging out in the shower.”
The joke landed, but was he really joking? In 2010, legitimate football news sources reported that Peyton really believed that there were microphones strewn throughout Gillette Stadium. Five years later, former Colts head coach Tony Dungy told Dan Patrick that his former QB really did behave differently in New England than he did anywhere else.
“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. We didn’t have a lot of strategy discussions inside the locker room there,” Dungy said. “Peyton takes everything to the nth degree.”
The Patriots did get caught spying on another team’s practice, so is a little audio reconnaissance completely beyond the realm of possibility? Hopefully the Mannings and their on-air guests continue to use their relaxed platform on MNF to give us more nuggets about life behind the scenes in the NFL.