Former Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning was a regular at the Pro Bowl during his playing days, earning 14 selections throughout his Hall of Fame NFL career. So, when Jay Cutler went to his first and only Pro Bowl during the 2008 season, Manning had to welcome the young QB to the big event. However, he did so by helping pull a prank on Cutler that ultimately went completely wrong.
Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler were Pro Bowl quarterbacks in 2008
By the time the 2008 NFL season had rolled around, Peyton Manning had become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts. He earned his ninth Pro Bowl selection that year, and was a First-Team All-Pro for the fourth time, after recording 4,002 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
He led the Colts to an excellent season, as they went 12-4, but they lost to the San Diego Chargers in the wild-card round.
Cutler, on the other hand, earned his first and only Pro Bowl selection that year. It was just his third season in the league after going to the Denver Broncos with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft, and only his second as a full-time starter. He threw for 4,526 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions in 2008, which helped the Broncos go 8-8.
Manning and Cutler were both on the AFC team, but they ultimately lost to the NFC, 30-21, per NFL.com.
Peyton Manning’s prank went completely wrong
According to a 2009 article from The Denver Post, while some of the Pro Bowlers were hanging out in beautiful Hawaii, Manning, former New York Jets center Nick Mangold, and former Chargers offensive lineman Kris Dielman worked together to play a prank on Cutler.
Manning focused on getting Cutler’s phone while Mangold and Dielman pushed him into the pool.
However, although they remembered to get his phone, they forgot about Cutler having type 1 diabetes, so his blood-sugar monitor was in his pocket.
It was ruined.
“That was a prank where I thought we were smart enough to get the cellphone out of his pocket,” Dielman said, per The Denver Post. “But then, ‘Oops.’”
It all turned out OK, though. Cutler called some drug stores and eventually found a new one.
“It was a bad audible on our part,” Manning said, per The Denver Post. “I think we were thinking right, trying to get the cellphone. Then we realize, the guy gets insulin shots. We missed that.”
Jay Cutler played in the NFL after receiving a type 1 diabetes diagnosis
Getting thrown into that pool wasn’t the only challenge Cutler had to overcome throughout his NFL career.
Cutler received a type 1 diabetes diagnosis in 2008, and he quickly learned lifestyle changes he had to make while also playing football.
When entering games, Cutler hoped to have his glucose level at 80 or 90, according to a 2017 article from The Palm Beach Post.
“Diabetes is all about insulin levels and sugar levels and what you put in your body,” Cutler said on The Jay Cutler Show in 2012, per ESPN. “The more you put in your body the more you have to regulate it with insulin. So later kickoffs you’re talking about breakfast, lunch, and a pregame meal, so that’s more food you’ve got to be aware of and what you put in your body. A noon game, light breakfast, a little fruit, and some insulin and I’m good to go.”
Cutler would also have to check his glucose level every time he went to the sideline during games.
“I always have a Snickers or Milky Way nearby to offset a low,” he said in 2017, per The Palm Beach Post.
Cutler played in the NFL for nine more seasons after his original diagnosis. He threw for 35,133 yards, 227 touchdowns, and 160 interceptions in his career for the Broncos, Chicago Bears, and Miami Dolphins.
Sure, diabetes gave Cutler a significant obstacle he had to overcome while also trying to be a successful football player. But he learned how to manage everything and ultimately had a nice career as an NFL quarterback.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference