Before the 2016 NFL season began, Peyton Manning's first as a spectator and not a player since 1997, the future Hall of Fame quarterback said he was going to be rooting for six different teams in the league.
“I kinda look forward to this year being a fan of a lot of teams, people that I have connections with” he said. “I’ll be pulling for Brock. Of course I’m going to be a huge New York Giants fan, but I’ll be pulling for the Broncos and the Colts. I’ll be pulling for Adam Gase and Jim Caldwell, the head coach of the Lions. Coaches and players I’ve played with and competed with. Being a free agent, if you will, this year, to be able to pull for a lot of teams.”
Based on comments Manning made on Wednesday when the March of Dimes honored him as its Sportsman of the Year, it seems that blood is thicker than any of his other connections in the league.
“I watch the Giants games with a lot of enthusiasm and passion and really feel invested in all those games,” Manning said on Wednesday, via Newsday. “I always have, but I used to have to stop watching Eli play if it was a day game and I had a night game because I was sweating so badly and I hadn’t even started my game yet. So I had to ease off of that. It’s fun having a brother play and you do feel invested in pulling for him and I really have enjoyed watching him play this year . . . I really pull hard for him.”
The 40-year-old must be sweating a lot this season as the Giants (8-3) have been tangled in a lot of close games, although they're winning them whereas in 2015 they suffered repeated late-game collapses.
A lot of football observers figured that Manning would immediately become a TV analyst but he's remained just a fan and declined to give a prediction about this weekend's Giants-Steelers clash, indicating that he's content to keep his insight between him and Eli.
“I think the one thing that we do not need in this world is any more analysts and predictors of football,” he said. “We have plenty. I refuse to add myself to that list. So all I can tell you is I’m pulling hard for him.”