Peyton Manning COLTS QUARTERBACK
The four-time MVP and spokesman extraordinaire (including for DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket) is entering his 13th season in the NFL
Dan Patrick:Where can you go and not get recognized?
Peyton Manning: It just depends on who's there. Certainly in Indiana, Tennessee, Louisiana, I probably get a little more recognized. It's NFL Sunday Ticket's fault more than anything—now everywhere you go, you've got NFL football fans who are keeping up with it and know what you look like. That's part of the deal, but it's not a problem.
DP:When you throw an interception, are you instructed to stay as far away as possible from the person who picked you off?
PM: No. You're supposed to cover. You try to work the sidelines and force the cutback. We used to do a tackling drill in college, but I always thought it was bad karma, kind of a bad [thing] to practice.
DP:Have you avoided more sacks because of your arm or because of your legs?
PM: I'd say a combination, but probably not legs as much as feet. A slide here or there, or a step-up here or there when a defensive end is coming around the end hard, reaching for you. The off-season work has as much to do with [avoiding sacks] as anything because the receivers are so tuned in to getting open on time. I know when they're coming out of their breaks. It's not a test back there of how long you can hold the ball or how long your right or left tackle can hold up [a pass rusher]. The idea is to get the ball out of my hands and into the playmakers' hands.
DP:Eli got stitches recently. What's the most number of stitches you inflicted upon him as a kid?
PM: I never inflicted any upon Eli. Cooper, being two years older, inflicted a few upon me wrestling on my parents' bed or playing football in the neighbors' yard. I was kind of a stitch-kid growing up. But I can't remember ever having 12 across the forehead like Eli got.
DP:At what point in your career would you not be insulted if the Colts spent a high draft pick on a quarterback?
PM: I've never had feelings toward that one way or the other. If that's what the Colts felt they needed to do to improve our team, then I guess there would be a reason for it. Bill Polian is a guy you can't second-guess when it comes to the draft. Right now it'd be somewhat disappointing because you'd like to be able to get another player who could help us at another position. But you've got to have thick skin in this business, and I'm no different.
DP:What would you say to Lane Kiffin if you ran into him?
PM: It'd probably be a short conversation. I think the one thing where Tennessee was kind of hurt—our pride was hurt. We didn't think that Tennessee is a transition job. I've always thought, and the Big Orange Nation has always thought, that it is a destination job.
DP:Fifteen years from now, would you consider coaching your alma mater?
PM: I doubt it. I enjoy coaching young kids. We have a football camp in Louisiana where we get to coach eighth-graders through seniors on playing quarterback. I enjoy teaching them. It'd be hard to go onto the recruiting trail. In the NFL people say, 'You're a good play-caller—you'd be a good coach.' I'm only good at calling plays when I'm playing quarterback. I stink at it when I get on the sidelines.
• Futures Bet
I asked Cincinnati quarterback Carson Palmer which team would have more wins if it played the same number of games: the Bengals or his alma mater, USC. Palmer conceded probably USC, because they "have three or four cupcakes" on their schedule. Palmer likes Cincinnati's chances this year, but he wouldn't go so far as to say it should be my Super Bowl pick—yet. He was, however, more confident about the prospect of lifting the Lombardi Trophy in a different role in the future—as a general manager. "I think I could win a Super Bowl," Palmer said. "I have a good eye for talent at a number of positions."
• Orange Crush
Texas coach Mack Brown told me that if Reggie Bush is stripped of the Heisman Trophy he won in 2005, it should be given to former Longhorns quarterback Vince Young, who finished second that year. That's not surprising, given Brown's loyalty to UT. Brown told me that he tries to wear an orange shirt every day of the year. "I don't even have [anything] green or red for Christmas," he said.
• Line of the week
Fox Sports' Michael Strahan isn't a big fan of predicting what will happen in five months: "I don't have any Super Bowl picks. If anybody does, they're insane."
THE FINE PRINT: More confidential MLB financial data leaked: Turns out the Phillies spent $100,000 a year on Adderall for the Phanatic.
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Hall of Famer John Elway on Tim Tebow's mechanics.
2. Bobby Bowden discusses leaving Florida State.
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
JOHN BIEVER (PALMER)
DAVID BERGMAN (STRAHAN)
BRIAN SPURLOCK/US PRESSWIRE (MANNING)