When it comes to quarterbacks, nobody had better focus than Peyton Manning. He lived in the film room and spent countless hours honing his skills. He’s best known for his preparation, with many of his teammates and coaches praising his attention to detail. His longtime center Jeff Saturday had a first-hand experience of how seriously Manning took his preparation.
Manning has been fortunate enough to win the Super Bowl two times. During his first Super Bowl experience, his desire for peace and quiet almost got him into an argument with Saturday and an angry hoard of mothers.
Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday are longtime friends and teammates
One of the most underrated relationships in football is the relationship between the quarterback and the center. Both must be on the same page at all times, as they are both leaders on offense. The center is the leader of the lineman, and the quarterback is the leader of the skill players. Both constantly communicate so they can put the offense in the best position to be successful.
Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday were teammates when they played on the Indianapolis Colts. They spent 13 seasons together, winning a Super Bowl during the 2006 season. Manning has taken countless snaps from Saturday, having the record for most games by a quarterback/center tandem in NFL history. The chemistry Manning and Saturday have on the field is the same off of it.
Manning and Saturday are best friends off of the field. Their lockers were side by side and sat next to each other on the plane. Both enjoy golfing together and laughing over dinner. Things aren’t always peachy, as the sports world witnessed their epic argument when Manning was mic’d up in 2005. Despite the arguments, Manning and Saturday have always cherished the friendship they had with each other.
The two Colts legends were vital parts of the team’s Super Bowl run during the 2006 season. This was their first time making the big game, so Manning wanted to make sure he was ready to go. However, his desire to focus on winning his first ring caused tension between him, Saturday, and a mob of angry mothers.
Peyton Manning didn’t want to be bothered by kids during Super Bowl week
The Colts held a team meeting a week after their epic playoff comeback against the New England Patriots. It was to handle Super Bowl logistics like hotels, tickets, travel, things like that. Manning, who was childless at the time, was not interested in being bothered by kids the week before the biggest game of his life. He didn’t want kids on his floor in the hotel making noise while he was prepping for the big game.
“Wait, I’m not going to have families on my floor. I don’t want some 5-year-olds knocking on my door in the middle of the night or banging on the walls,” Manning said to the team, per The Athletic.
“So me and Tarik (Glenn), we’re there with our wives, and the wives are looking at us and going, ‘Whoa, wait a minute. We did all of this with you, we supported you, and now we can’t share the same hotel floor?’” said Saturday.
Manning’s request to be separated from kids didn’t sit well with some wives of the players. Saturday’s wife wasn’t pleased and urged her husband to speak up about the situation.
“As you can imagine, the intensity of the room ramped up about 100-fold. They’re like, ‘You’ve got to say something,’ and I’m thinking, ‘Great, we’re going to have a major disagreement just before going to the Super Bowl.’ But the wives weren’t having it,” said Saturday.
All Manning wanted to do was win
The situation involving Manning and the angry mothers isn’t what the Saturday or the Colts expected going into the Super Bowl. Having this kind of issue would be seen as serious by others. For Saturday, it was pure comedy because he knew Manning for so long. He understood his commitment to winning and wanting to focus.
“Looking back, I could understand Peyton’s concern, having toddlers roaming the halls. It was a freaking comedy, dude. You could cut the tension with a knife…I mean, he was so focused on winning the game, he just wasn’t going to let it be a missed opportunity,” said Saturday.
Luckily for Manning and the angry mothers, he was assigned a room way down the hall, away from the children. What’s even better is that the Colts won the Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears. Manning threw for 247 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in the game. Now that he is retired and children of his own, Manning might be able to understand the mother’s frustrations during that meeting.
“Now, fast forward to (Manning’s children) Marshall and Mosley, and he’s all about being a daddy,” said Saturday.