Everything about Peyton Manning speaks of a seasoned professional. His off season regime, the extra hours of preparation during preseason, his pregame warm-up drills, and even the carb-filled meal he eats before the game, are all legendary.
Ask anyone on the team, especially the rookies and newbies, if Manning’s focus is just on Peyton, and they will tell you that no one works harder than Peyton; and, no one works them harder than Peyton.
Manning knows he must prepare himself; however, he also knows his preparation is inadequate and incomplete if it doesn’t include the team as a whole.
If you listened to the post game interview, the philosophy of the old pro was heard in the pronoun he used. Manning’s vocabulary was not filled with “me, myself, and nobody else;” instead, he spoke of “our” team, “our” effort, “our” coaches, and “our” win. That’s not to say he never used the word “I.”
With a thought to the sky box where his family was huddled, Peyton said, “I want to give my wife a kiss and hug my family.” While the win was nice, it paled in comparison to the love he has for his wife and family.
A serious neck injury sidelined Manning during the 2011 season, and it required a series of three surgeries. Peyton thought his career was over, but Ashley, his wife, encouraged him to give it one more try. Her urgings were not because the family needed money or because she wanted her husband to take some more bone-crushing hits. She knew Peyton would have always wondered if he could have come back and would have regretted that he had not tried.
When the Lombardi trophy was given to the Denver Broncos and they were crowned champions of Super Bowl 50, it was because of teamwork. The defense played an excellent game; the offensive lineman blocked; the receivers ran their routes; and Peyton called a strategic game with his trademark “Omaha” checkoff.
While I watched the game yesterday I kept thinking of Solomon’s teamwork philosophy, and I think they’re a fitting conclusion to this post:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).”