That’s probably the last question the 37-year-old Denver Broncos quarterback expected to hear as he walked through the overcrowded hallway to join his teammates. Defeated in a massive slaughter by the Seattle Seahawks’ in a 43-8 prevail at the SLVIII Superbowl this past Sunday, Manning walked the long walk to the dreaded post game interview slowly, with hands in pockets, to the place where questions that no doubt began and ended with “Why?” and “What happened?” were waiting for him and his team.
Of course the noisy hallway enroute had many spectators tripping over themselves with cameras and mics and cellphones in hand; calling out questions that were a lot more on the wavelength that the team probably expected. Questions that the inquisitor seemed to ask behind a veil of sick, sarcastic pleasure.
Yet those only made beer vendor Steve Lopez’ humble approach stand out all the more to Manning. The athlete turned towards Lopez, locked eyes with him and responded “Not now, but when I come back this way I will.”
Manning is known as the “regular guy” who always takes time for his fans. We’ve all been privvy to tribute after tribute attesting to this. But the man is allowed some oportunity to be human, right? And this next question, well, let’s just say he didn’t fool commentators on the “NFL GameDay Final” who basically said they saw smoke coming out of the quarterbacks ears as he answered.
“The respect he always has for the fans, that’s why I like him,” Lopez said. “That’s why I asked, that’s his reputation. I like the way he keeps his emotions out of the public.”
But sometimes, those emotions have a mind of their own!
Uh oh. Though Manning was said to handle this question with grace, poise and aplomb, spectator reveal that he was highly offended.
“It’s not embarrassing at all,” Manning replied. “I would not use that word. There’s a bunch of professional football players in that Denver locker room who put in a lot of hard work to play in that game.”
No, he isn’t the only player who would’ve told Steve Lopez to wait. He isn’t the only player who would sign. He isn’t the only one who knows how great he has it, even when things aren’t so great.
Yet after this game of all games, Peyton Manning was somehow no different than before.
“You know, he’s got the reputation for being a class act,” Weisman said. “That’s him. On a night like this [to sign], I mean, I appreciate it. I know. I understand. That’s Peyton Manning.”
Thanks to Yahoo Sports for excerpts from this story.