Manning MVP Press Conference Highlights

Operating on practically no sleep, the Super Bowl MVP accepted his award today and answered questions from the media. Find out what Peyton Manning had to say about winning the award, Sunday night's game and what the future holds for the Colts.

PEYTON MANNING: Thank you very much. Thank you, Commissioner Goodell. It's a real honor to be part of your first Super Bowl as the Commissioner and just a very special treat accepting this Pete Rozelle MVP Award, on behalf of my teammates, just a great team effort last night. And I was proud to be a player on one of Coach Dungy's teams. Going on zero sleep right now.

We gave it a good run last night and this morning until about 4:30. Got back to the room and then, of course, I had to pop on the highlights and pop on the NFL Network and see all what happened during the game. Saw some things that I didn't even know happened during the game. Just how close Kelvin Hayden's foot was going out-of-bounds, and what a great play Bob Sanders made, and seeing the -- I've got to give Jeff Saturday a hard time, because Booger (McFarland) and (Dwight) Freeney got Coach Dungy, but typical offensive linemen, they missed, they got Eric Dungy, coach's son, more than they got coach. I've got to give them a hard time. Kind of reliving that game, watching the highlights was pretty special this morning. We look forward going back to Indy and having that parade and enjoying the rest of the day.

Q. You say you're going on fumes. What all did you do last night? Could you get specific? Will this change anything? You won one, now the question is going to be...

PEYTON MANNING: Yeah, as far as will it change anything, as Coach Dungy always says, to enjoy this, and usually he lets you enjoy it for a night and then come back Monday, ready to go on to the next one. I think he'll allow us to enjoy this one for a little bit longer, which we should.

It's been a long season, and it's been a season of some tough adversity that we've overcome, and the team has stuck together. We'll enjoy this. Once next season comes around and once the first day of weightlifting, which will be March, we'll be there. It will be the 2007 season. We'll have some different players, not all the players that got that trophy last night might not be on the team next year. For me as a player, I want to be a better player next year than I was this year. This was special to this year and this team.

Last night was just a lot of high-fiving, a lot of hugging with a lot of teammates, had a lot of family. That was special being able to share that with them last night.

Q. Do you think you'll be able to parlay this into a few endorsements this offseason?

PEYTON MANNING: I don't think I need any commercials at this point. We will enjoy it and me and Jeff (Saturday) and Tarik (Glenn) and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne) are flying out to Hawaii on Tuesday. And that's something that I'll look forward to as well, I've always been out there the past few years, and I was always real envious seeing the Patriots guys and I'd like to come as a Super Bowl winner. That will be fun to go out there, as well.

Q. Last night I turned off my television set to hear somebody say, Peyton probably has to win another one to be validated, like an NBA title...


Q. How do you feel about that kind of nonsense?

PEYTON MANNING: It's just kind of what it's kind of become, somewhat. You're always having to do something else. For me this was not a personal mission. I was proud to be a part of this team and it feels good when you work hard --not only this season, but really your whole career -- to be the best player you can be and we have a chance to be on a special team and to accomplish your ultimate goal of winning that championship as a team, it really is a special feeling because you're sharing it with your coaches and your teammates.

But like I said, I do think, you know, in some cases I've seen past quarterbacks that have won a Super Bowl that I kind of call it getting "the pass". They kind of get the pass other years. They have a bad year, they say, "He won a Super Bowl, we'll give him the pass."

I guess what I'm saying is I don't want "the pass". I want to be held accountable each and every year. Next year my goal is to be a better quarterback, and I feel like I should be because of the experience that I gained this year. And I think you've got to go out there and earn it each and every year.  This was a special year that we got it done. Once next season comes around, we'll certainly be more confident, but we'll have to go out there and prove it again.

Q. As you guys look to go for your second one, as you said, starting in March, does a part of you wonder whether Coach Dungy is going to be a part of that journey?

PEYTON MANNING: Well, the one thing I have learned is that tomorrow and next season there's going to be changes and you kind of -- that's why you want to kind of take advantage of the moment and take advantage of the team you have now, and there's no question that there will be some changes. Who knows how many changes. It was a special last night for this group of guys.

Coach Dungy is always talking about that.  He put up a stat that there were only 18 players on this team [from the one] when three years ago we lost the AFC Championship, and I didn't realize that until I saw it on the chalk board.

Next year, no question, there could be personnel changes, there could be coaching changes, we have assistant coaches interviewing for head jobs. Certainly since Coach Dungy's arrival here he's brought his philosophy and winning ways. I can remember his first meeting, and I'm a big note taker, and I wrote down all of his goals and his philosophies and concepts. And I still have that same notebook and I still refer to them. The team just bought in right away. They kept buying in. Our younger players came and we sort of passed those words down to them, they bought in. I think the head coach, the ultimate goal is to get the players to believe in his ways. Our team has. It's a huge reason why we won that Super Bowl last night.

(Getty Images/Eliot J. Schechter)
Q. I'm curious as to what the experience was like when you first went on the field. Your team was just a little jittery early and so many people talk about the breath-taking aspect of realizing where you are suddenly...

PEYTON MANNING: Well, it was funny, because me and Marvin and Reggie, you always go out there two hours before kickoff and do what I call "the pregame", we go out and throw our route tree. I said it's going to be tough to do that in the Super Bowl, there will be all kind of people out there, Tom Cruise will be out on the field and you have to tell him to get out of the way. And Prince will be out warming up. But in a home game or even on the road there's more people out on the field than there were yesterday.

We went out there, and we were the first players on the field. We had the whole field to ourselves. It was about as -- kind of a neat a scene, just to have me and my two great teammates, great receivers out there, had the whole Super Bowl field to ourselves. And we were throwing routes and deep balls and the ball didn't touch the ground. Had a great throwing session. I felt comfortable and relaxed. And came back out for the warmup and it starts to get a little more excitement, there's a little more energy in the air.

And then, of course, I think it really kind of hits you when they introduce the team. I think that's really a neat way to do it, even as opposed to the individual starting lineups, to run out there as a team and be led by our head coach. That's when you knew you were playing in the Super Bowl. And it's when you knew you were playing in the game everybody was going to be watching.

Coach Dungy talked about that all week, to enjoy the moment, soak it up. Obviously prepare and focus on getting prepared to win, but at the same time enjoy everything that came along with it. So it truly is everything it's built up to be. And it sure is nice when you win it, as well.

Q. Last night you seemed a little, I don't know, stunned. You seem a lot more relaxed now. What do you think made this team different than the other teams? Tony said last night it probably wasn't your best team.

PEYTON MANNING: I think I'm probably pretty much the same as I was last night. I was with my teammates. Yeah, I've got to agree with coach on that. I think some of our teams in years past, especially in the past three years, we probably had some more talent at certain positions than we've had this year, but it's a credit to Tony and Bill that we've been able to replace those guys with solid football players as well; maybe not as talented in some areas, but we got stronger in other areas.

Truly as a team we got hot in the playoffs. I have come to learn that in order to win this thing you do have to do it as a team. Everybody has to do their part. And the defense really stepped up in the playoffs and created turnovers.  And on offense, we started running the ball great in the playoffs and feeding off one another. And (Adam) Vinatieri was making everything in sight. So it truly was a team effort. That's what it takes to win a Super Bowl.

Q. You said you're looking forward to going to the Pro Bowl to be amongst your peers and be the MVP and the Super Bowl Champs. What else are you looking forward to?

PEYTON MANNING: I think that parade this afternoon will be exciting. I think the plane ride going back to Indy. Last night it was hectic to get a chance to see everybody. At least I know on the plane ride everybody will be in a controlled environment.

I talked to a couple of people this morning, talked to Coach (Phillip) Fullmer, my old college coach. I look forward to some of the conversations. Coach Dungy and I had a pretty cool moment, I'd say. I'm talking to a buddy of mine and he hands me the phone and he says, "You need to take this call." And I was like, "I'm on the phone here." He said, "No, you need to take this call." I hang up and it's the President.

Q. You hung up on the President?

PEYTON MANNING: No, I hung up on my buddy to talk to the president (laughter.) And coach was over there talking to him and passed the phone to me. And he was talking about just what a great win it was and playing in those tough conditions. He watched the entire game. He said he was pulling for us and looked forward to welcoming us to the White House, which I look forward to that, as well.

That's something that you hear about, and I've seen that clip of Ronald Reagan throwing a pass to Gary Clark, I think, on the lawn. I always wanted to share in that experience. So everything that comes along with it, I look forward to it. But the main thing, I think, is sharing it with your teammates and sharing it with your coach. That's what makes it even more special.

Q. Give me one snapshot from the week or maybe from last night between you and Tony Dungy and sort of the bond that you guys have shared, not only for the last five years, but especially in the last week or so?

PEYTON MANNING: Well, coach and I have had a great relationship. We sort of like to keep things kind of consistent. We like to keep our routine. We didn't have some special sit down talk, he and I, about what we needed to do. I think he knew that I was going to prepare hard to get ready to play. He's big into keeping the routine. I thought the schedule that he set for these last few weeks was perfect. We had a great week of work last week and came down on Monday, which I thought was better. We just had a normal routine. But we kept it the same.

The only thing that was different was last week our owner, Jim Irsay did have a little sit down with me and Coach Dungy and six other of the veterans just to kind of let us know that he meant business and that he wanted to win this game. That was the only sort of out of routine thing. I was thinking about today, the Super Bowl. Coach Dungy and I, we don't really talk on game day before the game except he always comes over right before, we're about to go into the locker room
and he tells me who the referee is. He said, "Tony Corrente is the head referee. He'll do a great job." It's an all-star cast of referees. It's the top referee at each position.

We had that normal conversation and kind of looked at each other, and we sort of knew it was time to go do it. Just very much kind of in our normal routine. I think that makes me comfortable, just seeing him with that comfortable look. I've never seen a guy with as calm a face in fourth and one in a Super Bowl or first quarter of a preseason game against Cincinnati. He has that same face. It can't help but have an impact on you to say, if this guy is calm, maybe I should be calm. It helps me be calm and I know it helps the rookie players be calm.

Of all the characteristics I have to say about him, that's one thing that's helped me in my career and my play is his calming presence, it really spreads throughout the team.

Q. Any message to the fans ... they want to know if you're going to doing a tango on the stage in downtown Indianapolis tonight...

PEYTON MANNING: Probably not. I found the leak on the tango. There's this girl, she was in that play. She had a small role, she wasn't really in it, but she, I think, wanted to get on the news. And she sent the tape to the media and released the tape. (Laughter.) I hadn't seen that thing in a while. I wish I still had hips like that and I was that flexible. It took me back a little bit. But probably won't do it today. 

But we look forward to coming back to Indianapolis. I talked to some buddies back home that said the city was rocking last night. That makes you feel good knowing how many people were back home, not only in Indianapolis, but in the State of Indiana. Coach Dungy and I were talking about it, we said the Circle was rocking and rolling last night. We look forward to coming back and having the parade, regardless of what the weather is. After the monsoon we played in last night, 20 degrees or 20 below sounds good to me. The fans have been a huge part of our success this year. We couldn't have done it without them.

We look forward to bringing the trophy back to Indianapolis today.

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