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Letterman Puts Manning’s Throwing Arm (And Comic Chops) To The Test

NEW YORK (CBS4) – David Letterman wanted to make sure Peyton Manning has still got game, so he had Manning toss footballs into passing taxis outside the Ed Sullivan theater during his appearance on The Late Show on Monday.

It was Manning’s first appearance on the show since he joined the Broncos in 2012, and Letterman asked him if the presence of John Elway in the front office influenced his decision to come to Denver.

“(Elway) is a great guy,” Manning told Letterman. “John is a very competitive guy that played at my age and knows what a quarterback my age kind of needs around him to be successful. That was a big reasoning in it and he wants to win now. And he’s not building for five years from now.”

Manning also got a chance to show that he’s still got game in the comedy arena, and he joked with Letterman that he thinks he knows how he’ll outdo Bill Belicheck and the New England Patriots in his next meeting with them.

He feigned anger that the “TV mikes pick up everything” he says during the snaps, especially his famous “Omaha” shout. He says that “reveals terminology that the next week the opponent can use.” So Manning’s plan is to make it so maybe those barks before the snap don’t get broadcast so much.

“I think I know how to fix it, Dave. I think you have to go up there and just say some really negative things about the commissioner Roger Goodell. Blue 20! Blue 20! Roger Goodell’s a no-good you know what,’ and I think they will just kind of turn that volume down a bit.”

Letterman also asked Manning to get into the specifics in describing his neck surgery that caused him to miss his last season in Indianpolis as a member of the Colts. Manning said for a little while it looked like his right arm might not be throwing footballs again.

“It was too late to learn to throw left handed,” Manning joked. “My high school coach used to always tell me that when you’re sprinting left it’d be easier if you could throw left handed if you were ‘amphibious.’ I think he meant ambidextrous but he never told me.”

Manning of course came back in fine fashion from the surgical procedures, but he says he’s not what he was before the injury.

“I’m not at 100 percent compared to what I was before my surgery. But I have made strides each season, and this year felt a lot better than I did the year before,” Manning said.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning at the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on May 4, 2014, in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Manning said he equates his situation to a pitcher in baseball.

“Maybe I can’t throw the 100 mph fastball anymore, but I can still strike you out by picking my spots and working the plate,” he said. “I don’t make the same type of throws that I used to make but I try to use the cerebral part and use my experience. I can still move the chains down the field and get us into the endzone.”

Retirement doesn’t seem to be anywhere near for Manning right now. He said the past two years he’s spent in a Broncos uniform has “rejuvenated” him.

“I still enjoy what I’m doing. I enjoy the preparation part, and I still think I can help a team. Now if the Broncos say ‘Hey, we don’t need you anymore’ that will probably be the end of it. And as soon as I don’t feel like I can do the same things that I’ve been doing then that’s when I’ll stop playing,” he said.

Letterman is an Indiana native and thanked Manning for all he has done for the city of Indianapolis, both on the field with the Colts and off the field.

Manning also took the time to discuss his personal life, something he doesn’t discuss too often. Manning and his wife Ashley now live comfortably in Denver with their twins — a boy, Marshall, and a girl, Moseley — who are now 3.

“It’s been the best thing that ever happened to me and Ashley both. It has changed out lives, and it keeps things in perspective,” he said.

Manning said he isn’t planning to push Marshall into playing football, though.

Peyton Manning's son Marshall and father Archie collect on his behalf the NFL MVP award at the 3rd Annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning’s son Marshall and father Archie collect on his behalf the NFL MVP award at the 3rd Annual NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

Like his father Archie did with him, Manning says he plans to let his son make his own decisions.



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