In analyzing the game played by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning on Sunday, NFL Network’s Deion Sanders didn’t focus on his play calling or his passing accuracy. Instead, Sanders focused on Manning’s face.
Specifically, Sanders said, Manning showed up at Sun Life Stadium with a serious, angry look on his face that, in Sanders’ view, was designed to show confidence but in reality showed the exact opposite.
“Let’s start from the beginning, when he walked into the stadium with that grimace,” Sanders said. “You’ve got to understand, we [NFL players] see the cameras when we’re getting off the bus, and we can give you [fans and the media] what we want: We can give you joy, we can give you humility, we can give you that grimace to make you think ‘I’m ready for this game.'”
But Sanders continued that while Manning’s serious face may have made him look focused to a casual observer, his teammates might have taken a different cue from it.
“Players know players, man,” Sanders said. “When you’re giving me that grimace, it seems like, ‘I’m concerned about this game. I’ve got to give you a face. I’ve got to simulate something that I really don’t feel.”
Sanders then turned to his fellow analyst Michael Irvin and said of Manning, “I’m sure he was prepared, I’m sure he was ready, I’m sure he was focused, but when I see things like that as a player, Michael, I’m thinking, ‘I don’t know’.”
Said Irvin, “Peyton looks like he’s ready, but Peyton also looks like he’s worried.”
Perhaps Manning should spend some time this off-season studying the nonverbal communications he makes with his facial expressions. And trying to avoid making faces that will end up on ManningFace.com.