Manning Press Conference Highlights

It was Media Day in Miami, and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning answered questions about the Bears and QB Rex Grossman and shared his thoughts on a number of Super Bowl related topics. Read his answers to over a dozen questions in this press conference transcript...

(on if he watched the NFC Championship Game)
 "I watched that game pretty closely on Sunday of the AFC Championship. We got to see the majority of the game and I was watching both defenses because I always like watching an opponent we are going to play on TV. I was studying both defenses, but obviously I pulled for the Saints all year long. I know a lot of those players and I know it's a special season. Growing up a Saints fan, it was a special season for me to watch as well."

(on the Colts offense)
 "Tom Moore has been the coordinator the entire time I have been with the Colts. I feel like I have really grown in his offense and have really developed and the offense has expanded the more experienced that I've become. Tom has given me more and more freedom each year, so it's sort of been a maturing process. The offense has grown and improved each and every year in my opinion."

(on the offense's success under Tom Moore)
"Tom Moore would tell you that it is because of the players that he has, but that's Tom being Tom. Certainly all of the players who have played for him, there is not a day that goes by that we don't appreciate having him as our coordinator. First of all, is the support that he has for us, the trust he has in us and it makes you want to execute for him. Tony Dungy is very much the same way. You want to win for him because you like him so much and Tom is very much the same way. He is very fair to the players and all he asks is for your best effort and focus during the week. It makes you want to go out there and execute the offense for him."

(on if there is a large disparity between himself and Rex Grossman)
"I'm the wrong guy to answer that. Rex has done an outstanding job this season. Obviously, I watched from afar and of course, these past two weeks I've solely studied the Chicago Bears defense. If you are a quarterback and you get your team to the Super Bowl, in my opinion, you are doing a good job. I know being in Chicago, he's been heavily scrutinized and that's part of being a quarterback in the NFL. You add the Chicago Bears into it, that's going to make it kind of a double whammy. Rex has done an outstanding job this year; he's been a great leader for his team and seeing the things that Coach Smith has said about him and what his teammates have said about him, you can tell he is doing a great job."

(on if two weeks between games are necessary)
"I don't think so. I think if we had to play this past Sunday, we could have if that's the way the format was set up, but we knew we had two weeks. I really tried to use it to get an extra jump-start on the Bears. Any time you are playing an uncommon opponent, a team you haven't played in a couple of years, there is a lot of
film to watch, things to study. You try to use the time to your advantage if you can. I think everybody enjoyed that win on Sunday night, but once Monday rolled around, we moved on to the next game."

Colts WR Marvin Harrison, QB Peyton Manning and WR Reggie Wayne at Media Day in Miami (Getty Images/Scott Halleran)
(on what is required to get through to the Super Bowl)
"All we have here is an opportunity. That's all we've earned and that's what this is. I know how hard this team has worked to earn this opportunity. I feel that I have been part of this team and I've tried to do my part. Somebody said, ‘Well, will Sunday's win make up for the other losses you've had against the Patriots.' It really doesn't because those were different teams and those were opportunities that we didn't take advantage of. I would like to say one thing about some players who are not going to be playing in this game that I am thankful for. First off, we've got four guys on injured reserve and certainly the guys who cover the Colts daily know these names. Mike Doss, Montae Reagor, James Mungro and my best friend on the team, Brandon Stokley – all of those guys are on injured reserve and they've had a great impact on this team. We're thankful for them. Also, some guys who don't wear the uniform any more who are still, in my opinion, Colts and always will be and guys who helped the turnaround of the Colts going from a kind of inconsistent team to a consistent winning franchise. I'm talking about guys like Edgerrin James, Marcus Pollard, David Thornton, Adam Meadows, Brad Scioli, Chad Bratzke – guys who are great friends and great teammates. I want to say that we haven't forgotten those guys."

(on if he feels he is making up for his father, Archie, who did not make to a Super Bowl)
"He and I have never talked about anything like that. I know people ask him that question and my dad played 15 years in the NFL as a professional quarterback which, here I am in my ninth year, and there is not a day that goes by that I am not more and more impressed with how long he played in the NFL. I know how hard it is and what a grind it is and I know how hard he worked and prepared every offseason. Obviously, he didn't have a great supporting cast around him, but he never complained. He is still kind of revered in New Orleans as sort of the quarterback in town for the way he handled himself and just how hard he played. I've asked my dad a lot of questions and I've learned a great deal from him, but Eli and I are doing our own thing, our own football careers and my dad, my mother and all my family – they just enjoy watching us play."

(on if it means more to make the Super Bowl because it took so long)
"Well certainly, I know how hard it is to get here because it has … I certainly would have hoped to been here earlier. We've had some chances in earlier years. We've had good football teams and had some chances in the playoffs and it just didn't work out. You certainly want to take advantage of the opportunity if you can. That's what we have right now, an opportunity. It's one that you don't want to take it for granted. It's this team, and you want to take advantage of it."

(on if there is more pressure because of how long it took)
"Certainly, you feel a small window of opportunity and I've really been playing this way for quite some time, with free agency and with injuries. If a guy like Edgerrin James, who is one of the best athletes I've ever seen, if he can get injured and you can lose a player like a David Thornton or a Edgerrin James due to free agency, you realize that the days of building for next year, or 2008 are long over with. You better try to do it when you have the chance. While we're here, we sure do want to go ahead and win it."

(on the Bears defense)
"The Bears defense is more and more impressive each time you turn on the film. The way they create turnovers, the way they put offenses in bad downs and distances from first-and-10 to second-and-15 and to third-and-20 is impressive. You see a lot of offenses punting out there and it's tough, but their ability to create turnovers and to give their offense good field position is impressive. Of course, their special teams do a good job as well, but you just see them playing well together as a team. We truly have a great challenge in trying to protect the ball and trying to move the ball against this defense."

(on if he can enjoy the experience of Super Bowl week)
"I am certainly going to try to. I've talked to a few quarterbacks during this past week – guys who have played in this game who have both won and lost the game. I just tried to see if they had any advice for me. Some of them I called, some called me. Most of them said the same thing – try to enjoy the week, try to keep your routine as normal as you can and do the same things you do in-season on Wednesday night, on Thursday night as far as a preparation standpoint. That's my goal. About 20 of us went out to dinner last night and just had a great time. I think those are just some of the small things that I'll remember along this week when I look back. Obviously, the game is the most important and the one you hope to remember for the rest of your life. It was a special dinner last night – a lot of guys having fun and a lot of guys who are excited to be here."

(on the best piece of advice he got from other quarterbacks he talked to this week by phone)
"The real challenge is to maintain some sort of normalcy to your week. In other words, I have a Tuesday, Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night routine during the season and that's what I am going to try to do this week as far as my film study, my preparation, the times I eat dinner and what not. It's a little bit more of a challenge with some of the requirements that we have, that's certainly what I plan to do. That's when I usually feel the most comfortable in my routine."

(on the confidence of the Colts' offense)
"I think you have to be confident in your offense. That's part of playing in the NFL and the reason you have confidence is because of how hard you worked and how hard you prepared. I've used this quote before, but my dad gave it to me when I was a kid. It was by Chuck Noll, which said, ‘Pressure is something that you feel only when you don't know what you are doing.' I really abide by that when it comes to preparation. Tom Moore and Tony Dungy have that same philosophy and both of them have worked for Chuck Noll. We do a good job of preparing. We work hard and prepare hard, so you do feel confident going out into the game. Now, you still have to go out there and make the plays and the breaks are not always going to go your way, but you do feel prepared going in. We've had a good week of preparation so far. We need to continue that this week."

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