DENVER – At the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter, the Denver Broncos were up 35-21, with the ball. That last part is key to this story.
The Broncos, stealing the University of Wisconsin’s bit, started playing the House of Pain song “Jump Around” in the stadium. Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, on the sideline, got into it and started dancing. They showed Talib on the big screen, the crowd got even more fired up. It was fairly typical stuff at the end of a big Broncos win.
And quarterback Peyton Manning was not happy about it.
Manning wants the crowd to be quiet when the offense has the ball. He likes calling out audibles at the line, and every once in a while he’ll theatrically motion for the crowd to quiet down. After the two-minute warning the Broncos got a false-start penalty, although it didn’t seem that was due to the crowd noise. He wasn’t mad at the fans this time; he was mad at the Broncos scoreboard operator.
“I have no problem wih our fans, our fans are great,” Manning said. “I’ve got a problem with our scoreboard operator. I’ve got to have a little talk with him.”
Some reporters in his press conference laughed. Manning did not. Manning often has a very dry delivery on his jokes, but it certainly appeared he was dead serious about not being pleased with the scoreboard operator.
He also referenced a moment in the second half when the Broncos kept showing San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, the No. 1 enemy of Broncos fans, on the big screen repeatedly to let the crowd boo him.
“I’m not sure what he’s doing,” Manning said. “He’s playing music and showing players dancing and getting the crowd fired up when we have the ball. I don’t think we should be doing that. I don’t think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought it was disprespectful. Our fans were great, our fans were loud, but the scoreboard operator, it wasn’t his best night.”
Again, there was no laughter after finishing his thought and not a hint of a smile.
Manning is known for being very serious and very competitive, and will yell at a teammate for a mistake when he feels it’s necessary. He apparently believes that standard should be held to everyone in the organization, even the guy showing Talib jumping around on the big screen.
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