Jeane Coakley covers the NFL in New York, but she covered the Colts in Indianapolis for four seasons. In fact, the Colts won the Super Bowl in her first year there (2006) and lost the Super Bowl in her last (2009).
During that time, Coakley got to know Peyton Manning quite well.
“He ran the show,” the SNY NFL reporter said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “When the Colts made it to the Super Bowl (in 2009) and during the playoff run, Pierre Garcon and all these rookies weren’t allowed to talk. Peyton’s like, ‘No, I’ll pay your fine. You’re not talking.’ He controlled that locker room, but thats’ the type of guy he is. It was fascinating to watch him work. I’ve never met someone who worked as hard as he did and be as good as he is at his craft. He was the first one in the room, the last one to leave, he knew every single play – it was just fascinating to watch him work. I want to be that good at my craft. He just worked so hard at it.”
Manning also controlled the Indianapolis media – which he wouldn’t have been able to do in a bigger market.
“He controlled the media there because it was such a small market, and if you ticked off Peyton Manning, then you weren’t really going to be able to cover them,” Coakley said. “He’s a future Hall of Famer. This is one of the greatest guys to ever play the game, so he could control that situation. That’s the way he was. It was funny because I remember talking to somebody, and he said, ‘Peyton wouldn’t be able to survive in New York like Eli did.’ They’re so different, Eli and Peyton. Peyton wouldn’t have been able to control the media here or control the situation. But you can do it in a smaller market. So it’s interesting to see who the two boys were completely different because Eli obviously thrives in New York, where Peyton probably wouldn’t have been able to.”
The Colts, of course, were wildly successful during Manning’s tenure, averaging 12.1 wins per season from 2002-2010. Manning, though, had certain media routines – and he stuck to them.
“He talked at (specific times),” Coakley said. “He didn’t give one-on-ones that much unless (it was) national media. He did his media responsibility, but when he was done, he was done. He would come in, he would talk, that was it. He always knew what was going on. He’s such a micro-manager.”