Teddy Bridgewater has always had an admiration for Peyton Manning, a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback and arguably the best ever when it comes to diagnosing defenses and finding ways to beat them with his brain.
On Sunday afternoon, Bridgewater, a second-year quarterback, will go throw for throw against the 39-year-old for the first and perhaps last time.
Needless to say, this will be a game he will remember for a long, long time.
“Peyton’s a great guy, probably the best quarterback to play this game, a great ambassador for this league,” the 22-year-old said today.
Bridgewater can’t remember the first time he watched Manning. “There’s so many memories, I can’t even think of it,” he said. He was just five years old when Manning made his NFL debut with the Colts in 1998. And Bridgewater has watched him win a Super Bowl and five MVP awards.
“He’s always in command at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “It’s always like a chess match when you play Peyton Manning. He’s always making checks, audibles at the line of scrimmage, getting himself into the right plays, protecting himself. … He’s been playing at a high level his entire career.”
Since Teddy is such a Manning fan, might we see him flapping his arms wildly at the line someday while barking out, “Omaha!” repeatedly?
“No, not at all,” Bridgewater, buttoned-up as always, said with a laugh.
While Bridgewater versus Manning will be a storyline all week, Bridgewater is worried about another challenge — playing that Denver D on the road.
“Those guys play extremely well at home,” he said. “I believe they were 8-1 last year with their only loss coming in the playoffs. So they have a tough crowd and a tough defense and they’re going to have a lot on their side.”