It is no secret that Peyton Manning is insanely competitive. So, it should not come as a surprise how he reacted when conversations with ex-Patriots players led him to believe that the Patriots’ visitor’s locker room was bugged.
In short, Manning assumed it was true and went out of his way to make sure the Patriots couldn’t hear anything important he had to discuss with his coaching staff.
Peter King first strongly hinted at the story in 2010 as something of a rumour in a column leading up to a matchup between Manning’s Indianapolis Colts and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium (via Yahoo! Sports):
“I’ve always heard, reliably, that the Colts never trusted that they were totally alone in the Colts’ locker room in Foxboro, and that when Manning had something of strategic significance to say to offensive coordinator Tom Moore, they both stepped outside into the concourse outside the locker room.”
Oh? Was this just Manning being paranoid and overreacting to Spygate which happened in 2007 when the Patriots were caught videotaping an opposing team’s signals during a game?
Well, Manning’s coach in Indianapolis, Tony Dungy, was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” and confirmed this report and says there was a little more to it than that.
Dungy was asked if Manning did step out into the hallway to discuss strategy with his coach because he thought the locker room was bugged.
“That is very true,” Dungy said with a chuckle. “As Peyton talked to guys who played for the Patriots and some of the guys who came over [to the Colts], whether it is true or not, he treated it as true and we didn’t have a lot of strategy discussed inside the locker room [at Gillette Stadium].”
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the locker room was bugged or even that the players told Manning it was bugged. It could simply be a case where Manning grilled ex-Patriots players on what they knew about the Colts and Manning was suspicious about how they knew so much.
But at the same time, in light of Spygate, the Deflategate saga, and mysterious happenings such as accusations of opposing team’s communications going down at critical points in games at Gillette Stadium, this certainly raises some eyebrows. Or maybe Peyton is just paranoid.
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