It is no secret that Peyton Manning is insanely competitive, both on the football field and off. During the press conference to announce Manning’s retirement, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak added to the lore with a great story about how he realised Manning was ready to return from injuries during this past season.
One of the biggest stories surrounding Manning during his final season were his struggles, his injuries, and whether the Broncos would bring him back once he was healthy. Kubiak opened up about that.
After a tough loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the worst game of Manning’s career, Kubiak says he told Manning to take some time off to get well. According to Kubiak, Manning was “not real happy” with the news. However, over the next seven weeks, Manning improved his health and began working out away from the normal practice because he didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.
According to Kubiak, he would film these throwing sessions and watch them later. Over the course of time, Manning was progressing and getting better.
“We went through this process for a few weeks. As we went through this process, there were some highs and lows. There was one setback if I recall. We kept pushing. And all of a suddenly it was different. I knew he felt like it was time, that he was ready to play, that he was in the right place. There was two weeks left in the regular season and he and I talked. I could tell through his voice, he felt pretty good about what was going on, and he was ready to come back. So we decided that week we would proceed the same way. So we started our Wednesday, had the meeting with the team. He went over and worked out. We went about our business. That evening I watched his tape and it looked better than ever. Everything was pretty consistent. Thursday was different. We had our work as a team. He had his workout. I sat down and watched the film.”
That’s when the competitive fire that Peyton Manning is famous for came shining through, in the form of a middle finger for his coach.
“As I am watching the film that day, there was something different about the workout. During the workout, he sent me a signal, to the film. ‘Hey, we’re No. 1.’ You can take it that way. I took it as ‘I am ready to play, coach.’ I was heading home that night and I texted him. I said, ‘the workout looked great today, and by the way, I got the signal,'”
Later, Manning joked that he “can’t confirm or deny” that the incident happened as described by Kubiak but did explain that it was a “frustrating time” as he was not getting healthy as fast as he wanted to.
The two talked the next day, Manning convinced Kubiak he was ready, and the Broncos went on to win the Super Bowl.
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