Bruce Arians admits coaching Peyton Manning was difficult
Mar 7, 2016, 9:28 AM | Updated: 11:20 am
(AP Photo/Seth Rossman)
Peyton Manning is hanging up his cleats.
After 18 years, two Super Bowl championships, five MVP awards and numerous league passing records, the Denver Broncos signal caller is announcing his retirement Monday.
When Manning entered the league as a hotshot number-one overall pick of the Indianapolis Colts out of Tennessee in 1998, his first position coach was Bruce Arians. The current head coach of the Arizona Cardinals looked back fondly on his time tutoring Manning very early in his career.
“I’m kind of happy for him and sad for the league,” Arians told Doug and Wolf Monday morning on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. “He’s had such a great career and is such a good guy. You see some of that funny side now, but this was one of the best practical jokers I’ve ever seen.”
Manning spent three years learning under Arians and proved to be a quick study. His first year, the Colts went 3-13. The very next season, they flip-flopped that record, going 13-3 and qualifying for the playoffs. Yet, Arians acknowledged that things weren’t always easy.
“Coaching him was probably the hardest job I ever had,” Arians said. “Keeping his mind busy — if you had an hour meeting, you better have three hours worth of stuff. Them poor other second and third quarterbacks couldn’t write fast enough.”
Even though the Broncos won Super Bowl 50, the lion’s share of the credit went to their suffocating defense. Manning became a sort of game manager in their playoff run, throwing for only two touchdowns in the postseason while attempting 30.6 throws per game. The consensus around the league was that his skills had diminished.
Arians is glad Manning is getting out of the game now.
“Having loved Joe Namath and Johnny Unitas, I was scared (expletive) he was going to go to the Rams and look like them at the end,” Arians said. “They couldn’t hardly walk anymore and they still played.
“It comes to all of us, but the mind never diminished. The ball was going to the right spot all the time and he still could get them into the end zone when they needed to.”