The Colt is getting used to a new coach, Jim Caldwell, after Tony Dungy joinedme and the rest of the crew on NBC Football Night in America.
Dan Patrick: Idon't know what this says about me or you, but a couple times during [FootballNight] rehearsals, Tony Dungy called me Peyton.
Peyton Manning:Was it a Freudian slip? That concerns me. Dungy is usually on it.
DP: Are yousaying you think he's slipping?
PM: No, I thinkyou were hearing things.
DP: I've got toget Tony energized. Is there a button to push?
PM: I haven'tfound it. He's a loyal alum, so if you were to bash the Minnesota Gophers, youmight get him fired up. But you'd have to go after him hard.
DP: Will you callhim after games, or do you think he'll call you?
PM: I got thetext before the game the other night. He and I are still going through atransition. He's telling me it's going to be weird watching us, and I think allof our players are trying to get used to him not being on the sideline. Eventhough he won't be there, his presence will. Coach Caldwell is going to coachfrom Coach Dungy's book of principles, adding his own flavor to it.
DP: Do you wantto play in preseason games, or do you have to?
PM: I want toplay this year because we have some new faces. This group needs to playtogether. In years past I'd say, No, we really don't need to because we'reready to go.
DP: Last weekPhilip Rivers told me that he didn't like the idea of calling his own plays.What's he missing out on?
PM: San Diego isa diverse offense—they have multiple formations and personnel groups, andthey'll shift [a lot]. When it comes down to it, [the Colts are] trying to begood at a certain number of plays, and we're not afraid to run the same playover and over and over again. You've got to be careful trying to run 60different plays in a game and being pretty good at most of them, as opposed tobeing great at this core group of plays. I certainly don't call all the plays—Ijust have the flexibility to change them. It just depends on the offense you'rein.
DP: Aside fromthe Giants and the Colts, who is the most entertaining team to watch?
PM: I'll tell youwho I watch: I watch New England, I watch Dallas and I always watch the teamsin our division.
DP: Are youwatching QBs?
PM: I'm watchingoffense. I'm looking for plays that make me go, "Wow, that was great."And I appreciate great quarterback play. I am not a hater by any means. I'malways trying to put myself in their shoes. It's hard to watch a game on TV andnot try to learn something.
DP: Are youwatching with a notepad and pen?
PM: Not on TV.First of all, I'm watching most of them on mute. It's much more pleasant onmute, especially when I'm watching Eli play. You really don't want to hearsomebody slamming your little brother.
DP: Is it toughto watch Eli?
PM: You certainlyget a little emotional, get into it. On occasions when I get to see Eli'sentire game in the hotel on the road, I've found myself standing on top of thebed yelling at one of his receivers or one of his linemen. And I go,"Peyton, what are you doing? Why are you screaming at the TV? You've got agame in two hours." So I've had to stop watching the games so much. I'llwatch a rerun of Stripes and flip back for highlights. It keeps me a lotcalmer.
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Jimmie Johnsondiscusses his NASCAR three-peat prospects.
2. Vikes' ProBowl guard Steve Hutchinson on his new QB.
Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter might be Public Enemy No. 1 in Red Sox Nation,but don't count Boston manager Terry Francona among the haters: "If you'rea baseball fan, I don't know how you don't love the guy. He's one of theultimate competitors." When I asked Francona if New York's captain wasoverrated or just overcovered, he shot back, "I think he's underrated. Theway he plays the game enhances his game, which is already pretty good. Ifanything, he's underappreciated."
The NFL's most prolific tight end, Atlanta's Tony Gonzalez, admitted to me thathe hasn't always been so tough. The new Falcon told me he spent all of eighthgrade ducking a bully: "I spent a whole year as a latchkey kid. I didn't doanything. No eighth-grade dance, no after-school hang out. None of that stuff.I was at home scared."
Line of theweek
John McEnroe thinks that technology will soon make player challenges of calls anonissue, removing some of tennis's soul: "In five years you're not goingto have any umpires. They're going to look back at the days of thedinosaurs—McEnroe and Connors—longingly. We showed a lot of emotion."
THE FINE PRINT:The most exciting part of The Barclays tournament in Jersey City was when aball would go into a hazard and bounce off the body of a mob informant.
Hear Dan announcethe week's Got It Done Award every Monday
PRESENTED BY grape-nuts
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
JOHN IACONO (JETER)
WALTER IOOSS JR. (MCENROE)
BRIAN SPURLOCK/US PRESSWIRE (MANNING)