The Broncos are back in action tonight as they kick off the 2016 NFL season against the Carolina Panthers, but the quarterback that helped the team win Super Bowl 50, Peyton Manning, is retired. Surely he's looking for something to do in retirement other than appear in seemingly thousands of commercials that get stuck in our heads. It's unlikely that DJ is going to be one of Manning's post-football career options.
Manning recently revealed in a radio interview with 1070 the Fan that during his time in Indianapolis, he was much more than just a quarterback who established all kinds of NFL records and won a Super Bowl. Peyton Manning also served as the Colts' team DJ on flights back to Indianapolis after wins.
The problem is that Manning wasn't very good at it.
Manning said in the interview that if anyone would ask some of his former teammates like Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis, they would probably say he wasn't all that great of a DJ.
Manning was correct.
"Yeah, he needs to stick to football, which he has done a great job as a professional football player," Freeney said Monday. "Not a professional DJ."
It sounds like Manning's tastes in music probably contributed to Freeney's perspective.
"He played all the songs from Rocky or Top Gun, you know? That's Peyton, though," Freeney said.
Manning didn't just play music on team flights. He had this whole system rigged up where he would use earbuds and attach them with tape to the telephone system flight attendants use to make announcements, and then he would use that as a speaker to play music of his choosing for his teammates' enjoyment.
"And so I could tape it with the button down and play music from anybody's iPod, and I used to mix it," Manning said. "I'd play hip-hop, I'd play country, I'd play oldies for all the coaches in the front, and I'd mix it up and I thought I was pretty good at it, you know, I had a good feel."
Manning said that, although he played a wide variety of music, he never played songs with explicit lyrics. Tony Dungy wasn't on board with inappropriate language, and if a song that wasn't family friendly made its way into the mix, Dungy would lay down the law.
Once after a big win — Manning thought it might have been the Colts' 24-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008 — Jeff Saturday and Raheem Brock tried to help Manning with his music selection, and the results were disastrous.
"So (Saturday's) playing some Bon Jovi or whatnot, and then Raheem Brock says he wants to play some stuff, and so anyway, we had a couple of iPods going, we had a mix," Manning said. "And so Saturday's playing some music and somewhere in there somebody had a song on there that maybe wasn't the best of language. Most of the rap songs might have been edited; this one was not edited."
Oh, dear. Coach Dungy couldn't have been happy.
"And sure enough Tony Dungy gets up and walks down the aisle, and I'm telling you, me, Saturday, Raheem, we absolutely melted," Manning said. "We were about to cry, we could not apologize more, and it was not funny at the time but it goes back to, boy, you didn't want to disappoint Tony Dungy."
But really, none of this reflects on Manning's skills as a DJ, because it wasn't actually his fault. Saturday had to get involved, playing his Bon Jovi or whatnot, and then it just snowballed from there.
"I blame Saturday," Manning said.
Manning maybe wasn't the greatest DJ, but he still has memories of his Hall of Fame-caliber career and two Super Bowl rings to remind him that he was pretty good at football.