Peyton Manning can make the deep throw, the out to the far sideline and sling one across the middle through traffic, but as great of an arm as he has, his ability to essentially run an offense by himself is what has really set him apart. Little did we know that Manning was calling his own game and taking charge on the second play of his first preseason game of his career.
In a chat with KOA, Manning discussed his first preseason game with the Denver Broncos and Dave Logan brought up that first preseason game of his career, way back in 1998. On the third play of that game, Manning threw a slant that went for a touchdown, which is impressive on its own, but there is more to it. There is that little thing where technology hung Manning out to dry and the rookie had to call the play and direct the offense all by himself.
"It was a funny series because the first play we ran the ball. I remember the coach had told me … if the headphones ever go out, just be prepared to have your own play. The headphones go out on the second play of the game. I kind of stayed poised, didn’t call a timeout, called a little draw play and got four yards. Anyway, it was like a third-and-five or six and Seattle, being a smart defense, naturally you’re going to blitz a rookie quarterback, and they brought everybody. We called a little three-step drop, safe pass, no reads or anything. It was called Scat Right 92 and I was throwing to Marvin [Harrison] breaking the huddle. … They blitzed everybody and he just hit that seam and all I remember is running down that field and thinking, ‘This NFL is easy.’"
Obviously the NFL isn't easy, but Manning has made it look pretty easy ever since. Two plays into his career he was calling his own offense and a play later he was throwing a touchdown pass. Little did we know that he would spend the rest of his career calling plays and throwing touchdowns at a rate better than almost any other in NFL history.
Now Manning is with the Broncos, where he may or may not be charged with running no huddle with regularity and calling the plays, but we certainly know he is up to the task if he is asked to. After all, he was up to the task on the second snap he ever took.