Source - Peyton Manning never stopped looking for an edge, and one of his longtime rivals says that was particularly true over drinks.
Hall of Fame cornerback Ty Law said this week on WEEI that Manning used to buy him drinks in Hawaii when the two were at the Pro Bowl together, hoping to get Law tipsy enough that he’d reveal information about how the defense game planned for Manning.
“Peyton would try to get you,” Law said. “Once you get over to the Pro Bowl, you’re on the same team. Peyton tried to get you drunk and then try to dig into your brain: ‘What did you see? Why did you do this?’ He’d feed you these mai tais, then he’d butter you up and ask you, ‘What did you see?’ and this and that. I was like, Peyton, I ain’t falling for that s–t.”
Frigging Peyton Manning. This is so typical. Slipping Ty Law a Hot Cosby hoping to get him to reveal the Cheat Codes of the early Dynasty Patriots defense is exactly what I'd expect out of him. The only part of this story that strains credulity is the Mai Tais. Even in Honolulu, Law would strike me as a Courvoiser guy. But when in Rome, I guess.
You know how they say the Queen of England is the richest land owner in the world? That doesn't take into account the tracts of real estate Law always owned in Manning's brain. He held the deeds to the entire Monopoly board. And for all the great moments in the Dynasty, there aren't too many better than the way he utterly destroyed Manning in the 2003 postseason.
In that first game, Manning was not only coming off his first MVP, he threw for 377 yards and five touchdowns in the Wild Card game. And in the Divisional round, his punter never came onto the field. So the Colts came to Foxboro as hot as an offense can be for the AFC title game. And Law disassembled Manning down to the subatomic level.
Manning threw four picks in all, three of them by Law, who returned them for a total of 26 yards. By way of comparison, his fellow Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison also caught three of Peyton's passes, for 19 yards.
It was such an embarrassment to the entire Colts organization that they responded the way anyone whose manhood had been degraded in front of the whole world would: They ran whining to the Rules Committee (of which GM Bill Polian was a member) to put an end to good defense once and for all, and The Ty Law Rule was born. Sadly, Law was hurt the following year so he wasn't there for the Divisional game at Gillette. Then Manning was coming off a 27-for-33 for 458 yards, 4 TD, 145.7 passer rating game in a 49-24 win over Denver. The Lawless (no pun intended but it stays in) Patriots held Indy to a field goal and 276 total yards of offense with three turnovers. And after the game, Tedy Bruschi spoke for us all.
So it follows that a desperate, humiliated Manning would try to slip his nemesis a Mickey to get him to talk. As it's said in Latin, in vino veritas, "in wine, there is truth." Or as The Clash put it, "the grapes that go ripe in the sun/ that loosen the screws at the back of the tongue." I'm glad it didn't work. Or at least I think it didn't work, though there were a couple of Manning playoff games against the Patriots later on that make me have some doubts.
Anyway, these were great times. I'm still looking forward to what happens next with this franchise. But it'll be hard to ever recreate anything this special again. Moments like this pass but once.