Things were going great for the Broncos last Thursday night as they were trouncing the Chargers. But late in the game a mishap changed the focus of the game. No, Peyton Manning didn’t throw a pick six with one of those fluttering ducks he sometimes lofts up. The Broncos defense didn’t give up a 80 yard bomb to Phillip Rivers like they did in the playoffs versus the Ravens a couple years back. The refs didn’t make a ridiculous call to let the Chargers back into the game. No, the mishap was the fault of the scoreboard operator for Denver. That is according to Manning himself.
The most meticulous quarterback in the history of the NFL was upset that he had to call a timeout when his call at the line couldn’t be heard. Check that, he was mad as hell! It appeared that he was blaming theBroncos fans for not knowing the right time to be loud. But he blamed the scoreboard guy in the post game presser. “I have no problem with our fans. Our fans are great. I’ve got a problem with our scoreboard operator,” Manning said. “I’m gonna have a little talk with him.” The reporters thought Manning was being funny as they chuckled a bit. But the future Hall Of Famer went on to note that the scoreboard guy “didn’t have his best night.” Manning was totally serious. He blamed the guy for playing music at the wrong time and showing Phillip Rivers on the sideline which caused loud boos while Denver’s offense tried to operate.
I would say that most any other QB would be labeled a baby after something like this. But Manning gets a pass. He is a professional in every sense and he wants things run the right way, right down to crowd handling by the stadium workers. Peyton gets a pass because he is so well liked by the media. I look for Manning to do something in the next couple days to make a joke out of this and offer something nice to the scoreboard guy as a kind gesture. Manning is aware of his public image and I am sure he doesn’t want to come off looking like a jerk. His team was well ahead so it is not like calling a timeout because of some crowd noise at his home stadium was going to cost him a win. But the guy is a perfectionist and wants every aspect of the games to go as planned. Clearly he didn’t want to waste a timeout over something silly.
Did the timeout really matter that much in the grand scheme of things? No. But it matters to Peyton Manning, so it matters to his teammates and his franchise. I would compare it to crazy stipulations in music stars’ concert contracts. They have weird requests like a bowl full of only red M&Ms, room temperature bottled water, or 27 red roses in their dressing rooms. On the surface these stipulations in singers’ contracts make them appear diva-ish or just plain crazy. But these small details are mandated for a good reason. It is not about the candy being right or the water not being too cold. It is about the venue getting the tiny details right so they will get the big details correct. If a singer is going to pitch a fit over the wrong number of flowers in the dressing room, what will they do if the stage is not properly lit?
If the Denver scoreboard operator playing music at the wrong time gets him publicly chastised, what is a running back going to get if he lets Manning get blindsided? What happens in a team meeting when a receiver drops a couple balls during a Broncos game? The point is that you best be on your game when you are affiliated with Peyton Manning. That goes from the top on down to the bottom of the Broncos organization. He expects perfection from himself and the people around him. That is why all his receivers do so well. It isn’t like he just gets lucky and has outstanding wideouts and tight ends each and every year. They either play up to his level or they would have to find work elsewhere.
Look for the Denver scoreboard guy to up his game the rest of the season. He needs to get in the film room and study the tendencies of the Broncos’ opponents. He better know when to amp up the home crowd and when to tone it down. It might even be a good idea to get a few music requests from #18 himself asap.