‘Omaha! Omaha! ‘How Peyton Manning changed the quarterback forever


INDIANAPOLIS-The record show some 17 years ago was like something kids drew in the mud. But it further established Peyton Manning as the greatest NFL defender on the line of battle.

Manning secretly told the recipient Brandon Stokley it would give it a “breaking symbol” – universal players for calls around the NFL know that the receiver’s slot signals go through the corner, and the receiver’s outside to connect them – if the chargers would give it a certain look at the scrimmage pre-snap line.

Manning scanned the line, and Chargers gave him a look. He turned left toward Stokley, who was in the groove, opened one arm, twisted the other arm, and began pounding, as if he wanted Stokley and Reggie Wayne, which was widely lined up, to perform a “smash” show. Stokley looked back at Manning, who nodded in agreement.

Wayne took a short shot, but Stokley did something different, something none of the other nine offensive players on the field knew was coming.

He headed for the corner, but then made his way to the middle of the route where he was opened nearly 10 yards on Manning’s 49th pass of the season so far, breaking the one-season mark for touchdowns of the 2004 season.

“The chargers fell on the hook, the rope and the sinker,” Stokley said. “It showed Peyton’s thinking on the next level. The show was kind of stretched into dirt, nothing we talked about earlier. Peyton was the originator of taking the game to a higher level on the conflict line. He set precedents, and you see so many defenders in the league who they use the same approach on the line of conflict. Peyton is responsible for 99.9% of that. “

Manning and his 71,940-meter passes, 539 passes and two Super Bowl titles are the title of the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2021 class to be unveiled on Sunday (7pm ET, ESPN). His speech will probably be as detailed as the preparations for the game during his 17-year playing career. Don’t be surprised if Manning drops a few “Omaha, Omaha” or some “Apple, Apple” references during his speech to make everyone laugh about some of his most memorable sound calls.

And as ridiculous as some of Manning’s calls on the line of conflict may be, there was an art, and even a science, to use the terms as a quarterback.

“Balboa, Balboa” meant the show would go left because fictional boxer Rocky Balboa was left-handed.

“Ice cream, ice cream” meant being patient because there was nothing there while Manning analyzed the defense.

“Every time the defense thought Peyton understood, they quickly found out they didn’t,” Stokley said. “Words would change often every week because teams could use a TV copy and pick up what he was saying. Sometimes he would use the same word, but the show would be different. Everything was done precisely.”

Now there are a lot of defenders – like Patrick Mahomes i Aaron Rodgers – who do a great job of reading the defense and calling the speakers on the line of conflict in the same way that Manning did.

“Peyton changed the way the quarterback played everywhere in football. Because he controlled everything on the line of battle,” said former Colts general manager Bill Polian, who elected Manning a total of 1 in 1998. “And so, today in high school to see kids do it, everywhere in college they do it.It’s done with great effect in the NFL.And that’s his legacy, the fact that he could control the game with a pre-snap look, by choosing a game, by posting – he just did it himself with the help of a coach in the game plan — it was a huge step forward for the position. ”

It wasn’t just watching the defensive formation, trying and throwing the ball as reasons why Manning could dissect the defense regularly.

Intelligence. Football instinct. It didn’t hurt either that Manning’s father, Archie, also played in the NFL.

Polian noticed this months before the Colts chose Manning instead of the Washington state defender Ryan Leaf with the first choice.

Manning entered a meeting with the Colts during a 1998 combine harvester with a yellow legal block in his hand. The notebook is not for display, she had a few questions for Polyan and his staff.

The roles have been reversed. Manning wanted to make sure Colts would be the kind of organization he wanted to play for.

“He asked a series of questions about the offense, about the team, about offensive philosophy, etc., and then all of a sudden – you know you only get 20 minutes in that interview, and they blow the horn when it’s over with – and the trumpet played, and we looked at each other, and man, we didn’t get any questions, he asked them all, “Polian said. “… He left the room, and we said, ‘Holy mackerel, he interviewed us, not the other way around.'”

“Demanding” is a word often associated with Manning by those who have trained or played with him during his career.

Manning worked hard, so he demanded it of everyone else. It didn’t matter if it was the last player on the list, the coaching staff, the guys with the ball, even the janitor at the team facility.

“He has redefined the culture of the organization,” said former Colts Center and current ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday. “Like, that role of QB, he was really a coach on the field and in the building. The way he behaved, you know, staying in Indy out of season, I mean like, really, he became part of the team and challenged at all levels, whether he was it was about the management, the professional staff, the other players. Those things were for me what really separated him. “

Former Colts Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen added: “There was no conflict, there was no disrespect, you just, out of respect, came to the meetings. You didn’t come into the meeting unprepared and just thought, ‘Hey, I’ll wing, I didn’t get a chance to prepare . ‘

“The better you are prepared, the better your information is accurate and the better you present it well.”

Manning’s preparation for the match didn’t start a week or two before he faced his opponent. Teams would often have 4-6 opponent matches in the review system. Manning, being his normal meticulous person, was not only pleased with these games. He often asked to have 10 games available for analysis.

But there’s a catch.

Manning would break five of those games on his own to help with the preparation process. He would then meet with his position coach or offensive coordinator to get over the tendencies he saw outside the defense. Manning wanted to make sure he was ready for any look the defense could give him.

“He’s very unusual,” former Colts coach Jim Caldwell said. “Never in the history of the game will you find anyone who would work the way he did. No one. I’ve been here a long time and I’ve seen a lot of hard-working workers, coaches and players, no one measures up to him.”

Ex Baltimore Ravens defense coordinator and New York Jets coach Rex Ryan can’t remember the number of hours of sleep lost as he prepared the defense to face Manning.

Ryan actually thought for a while he seemed to understand Manning. In the days leading up to the 2006 playoff game against the Colts, Ryan, then Ravens’ defensive coordinator, told the linebacker Ray Lewis and security Ed Reed they would win if they managed to keep Manning and his attack out of the extreme zone.

The Ravens didn’t give up on the touchdown and intercepted Manning twice. But they also didn’t win the match. Manning brought the Colts into Baltimore territory enough times to get five Adam Vinatieri field goals to win the game.

So all of Ryan’s countless hours of sleeplessness, spending the night in an institution, putting together schemes he thought would work, repeatedly failed, because Manning found just enough ways to decipher what the Ravens – and many other defenses – were doing.

“He beat me on my ass so many times,” Ryan said. “It was amazing. I really look at myself like I, you know, thought I was the best. You know what I mean, I did. And I’d get all my beatings time next to him … it’s funny if you look at my record overall, if take out Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, mine would be funny. My record would be amazing. But to face those two cats – it was unreal. “

Colts owner Jim Irsay often called the offense under Manning by placing Star Wars-type numbers. The Colts finished in the top five in the league in yards and points per game in nine of Manning’s 13 seasons. The Broncos, whom Manning joined in 2012 and with whom he ended his career, managed to do so in three of the four seasons he spent in the organization.

“If you’re in a thunderstorm and you’re on a plane, you want a pilot like that,” Irsay said. “If you’re done fighting in wartime or something, you want a leader like that. I mean, this guy knew what he was doing. It turned out, and I think Tiger Woods influenced so many young golfers, that he influenced so many young defenders.

“I think they looked at Peyton, and in fact they never saw anything like it. I mean, there’s no one you could compare it to – what he did on the line of conflict and how noticeable it was. That’s why in 100 there is only one Peyton Manning.” “


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