Peyton Manning doesn’t know where he sits on the list of all-time great quarterbacks, but he knows how he would create the ideal signal-caller.
Manning, in New York for the Super Bowl, described just that to NBC’s Dan Patrick in an interview that aired during the Pro Bowl.
“I’d give him John Elway’s arm,” Manning said. “Brett Favre’s scrambling ability, Troy Aikman’s drop-back, Dan Marino’s quick release … Joe Montana’s calming presence in the two-minute drill.”
Some might add Manning’s mastery of the pre-snap cadence to this quarterback mosaic, but probably not the man himself.
Manning admits he cannot even watch the television broadcasts of his games and doesn’t listen to himself call the “Omaha” cadence that he’s made famous but says he didn’t originate.
“I want to say Josh McDaniels, when he was head coach [in Denver], he started it,” Manning said.
Manning notes that he is not the only player in the league to utilize "Omaha” at the line. He told Patrick that he hears Tom Brady use the same call, and even his brother Eli Manning uses the signal.
“It’s out there,” Peyton Manning said. “And now it’s really out there.”
Manning’s audible has created so much buzz, in fact, that someone told him they were convinced he was going to retire after this season, and he was already angling for an endorsement deal with the insurance company Mutual of Omaha.
Manning refutes the notion, saying he’s not smart enough to concoct such a brilliant ploy. He joked he can see the NFL marketing quarterback cadences in the future, though.
“I could see the marketing department of each team coming in and telling the quarterback, ‘You have to say “Gatorade” as your snap count.’”
Manning quickly added, “I hope I’m done by the time that comes around."
At 37, Manning knows he’s near the end of his career but says he won’t base his decision on retirement on this week’s game.
“It really has no impact on whether I play again,” Manning said. “I’m really enjoying playing football again, and it has a lot to do with being out for [the 2011] season. I really missed being out there with my teammates. I missed working in the offseason towards a goal.”
Winning the Super Bowl may not sway Manning toward retirement, but it will certainly impact his legacy among the elite quarterbacks in NFL history. The Broncos QB thinks that’s a great discussion for the bar, but doesn’t really think about it.
“I don’t even know what the true definition of the word means,” Manning said. “I probably won’t look it up either.”
Bill Leopold is an associate producer for NBCSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bleopold7.