Manning's father still miffed
Archie says Colts QB is getting unfairly criticized for his postgame comments
By Mike Chappell
January 20, 2006
Archie Manning continues to do a slow burn over the way his son, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, is getting ripped by national media for his comments after Sunday's playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After the Colts' 21-18 upset loss in the AFC divisional game, Peyton cited "some problems in protection.'' He was sacked five times and pressured heavily throughout the game.
Terry Bradshaw, on the Fox network's postgame show, said Peyton's statements were tantamount to "calling out his offensive line.''
"If you heard the whole press conference,'' he said in a telephone interview Thursday, "you'd understand what went on. That (Fox) crew really blew it up. They said Peyton 'called out his offensive line.' What he said is, 'We had protection problems.'
"I guess that's just the sports culture we live in. The guys that are on top seem to get hit harder. Maybe I'm just sensitive, but it seems like Peyton gets more of it than anybody whenever we lose a football game. (The media) wants an answer and when it gets an answer, you just tear him up.''
Peyton Manning wasn't available to offer his rebuttal to Bradshaw and other critics. He and his wife, Ashley, are out of the country, relaxing, according to Archie. Attempts to contact members of the Colts' offensive line, including center Jeff Saturday, were unsuccessful.
Archie said Peyton was watching the Fox broadcast of the Carolina-Chicago NFC divisional game when he heard Bradshaw's criticism.
"He was totally shocked,'' Archie said. "You hear what they say on the radio and in the media. They say Peyton choked and Peyton can't win a big game. He's been living with that forever.
"But you add this to it, and it hurts. I just don't understand how he gets torn up over this. He was just trying to do the right thing. I've seen a lot of people not go in (the news conference) after a tough loss like that. I was with him before he went in. I know his heart was broken. But he went in and did his duty. He stood up to it.''
During his Monday news conference, Colts coach Tony Dungy said he didn't consider Manning's comments to be aimed at the offensive line.
"He said we had some protection issues and obviously we did,'' Dungy said.
Team president Bill Polian, on his Monday night radio show, said in hindsight Manning might have phrased his answer differently, adding, "you're never going to be 100 percent politically correct in that situation.''
Joe Theismann, an analyst for ESPN, agreed. Manning's comments, he said, wouldn't have carried finger-pointing connotations had he done a better job of including himself in those protection problems.
"What he needed to do was really put himself in the mix,'' Theismann said. "He should have said something along the lines of, 'It's my job to get guys lined up in the right place to block people, and I didn't do a very good job today.' ''
Archie believes Peyton did that.
"Football people, when you talk about protection problems, understand you're talking about everybody,''
he said. "It's the coaches, the quarterback, the offensive line, the running backs, the tight end.''
Archie categorized Bradshaw's on-air criticism as a "cheap shot.''
"It's not right to show that one quote out of a long press conference where people keep asking him and asking him,'' Archie said. "Yes, I thought it was a cheap shot, but I'm not going to go to war with Terry Bradshaw.
"I hope Terry doesn't have anything against us.''
Bradshaw dismissed the notion he has an anti-Manning agenda.
"I don't want to make it a personal thing with the Mannings because they are wonderful people and do wonderful things,'' Bradshaw said in a Wednesday teleconference.
He insisted his comment that Peyton "called out his offensive line'' was made after viewing the postgame news conference.
"I saw his face,'' Bradshaw said. "I heard what he said and . . . my immediate reaction was this: He is pointing fingers. Right or wrong, that's what I thought and I said it.''
Bradshaw would welcome a call from Archie, or Peyton, to resolve the dispute. Sometimes, he said in reference to Archie defending Peyton, "you've got to stand up and do your own battles."
"My dad taught me a long time ago, 'I ain't fighting your battles for you, son. You fight your own battles.' ''