Peyton Manning has been helping teams with Zoom calls this offseason
Peyton Manning hasn’t really settled on an official job title since he retired from the NFL four years ago, but the two-time Super Bowl champion has found plenty to keep him busy. That even includes helping out teams and players during the pandemic.
With NFL teams still unable to return to their facilities, Manning spoke with Peter King of NBC Sports about the importance of players taking the initiative and finding ways to prepare for the season. He said his brother Eli placed an emphasis on that during the NFL lockout in 2011, and the New York Giants ended up defeating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl that year. Manning said the pandemic presents similar challenges, though it may have been even more difficult for players in 2011 since they were prohibited from making contact with coaches.
Manning told King he has spoken about some of those principles on Zoom calls with NFL players this offseason. He spoke with the entire Los Angeles Rams team and the quarterbacks from the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears.
“That was kinda my message, sort of, you know, follow Eli’s lead. Quarterbacks, take ownership,” Manning said. “All these Zoom meetings, right now, the coaches are leading them. My message was to the quarterbacks. ‘Hey, organize your own Zoom meetings without the coaches, just get you and the tight ends, you and the receivers.’ It’s actually an opportunity to even have better communication. Because there’s nothing else to do, right? Hey, every Tuesday, 9 a.m., quarterbacks and the offensive line, Zoom, watching film. Instead of complaining about it, see it as an opportunity to really improve. There’s no reason you shouldn’t have every play from last year studied down to the T.”
Peyton said he explained to players how he spent his offseasons breaking down film from the previous season, always starting with the mistakes. He urged players to make their own meeting times and not wait for coaches to plan something.
“I think the team that wins it all this year is gonna be the team that’s really getting an edge during this time — kind of like the Giants in 2011,” Manning said.
We know one veteran quarterback who seems to be doing what he can to help prepare his teammates amid some difficult circumstances, and Manning is right that those who do the same will have an advantage when things return to normal. All teams are facing the same obstacles, but there are different ways of dealing with them. Players and coaches who can identify the positives in a tough situation will have the edge at the start of the season.