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Peyton’s perfect memory brings Tennessee play to Denver

peytontennessee Getty Images

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has long been known for his impressive mental approach to the game, but a story told by the University of Tennessee’s longtime Sports Technology Coordinator Joe Harrington demonstrates just how great Manning’s mental approach is.

According to Harrington, Manning contacted him last season and asked him to dig up the tape of a play on which he threw a touchdown pass 16 years earlier. Manning remembered the play and the situation in which Tennessee ran it perfectly, and he wanted to see if it would work in the Broncos’ offense.

“This is what he says: ‘In 1996 Tennessee played Ole Miss in Memphis. In the third quarter we ran a play called flip right duo X motion fake roll 98 block pass special.’ He said, ‘I need you to find that play, I need you to digitize it, and I need you to send it to me,'” Harrington recalled of Manning contacting him.

Sure enough, the Tennessee tape of that play was “exactly where he said it would be,” Harrington said, and the Broncos ended up practicing that same play, although they never actually ran it in a game. Here’s the video from the University of Tennessee of Harrington describing his interaction with Manning, and of Manning running the play twice, first as a junior at Tennessee and then on the practice field with the Broncos:

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36 Responses to “Peyton’s perfect memory brings Tennessee play to Denver”
  1. prosb4hos says: May 2, 2013 3:29 PM

    This is why he is Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow is Tim Tebow.

  2. citizenstrange says: May 2, 2013 3:31 PM

    Cool story bro!

  3. thegreatgabbert says: May 2, 2013 3:34 PM

    Without clicking on the button, Joe looks like a man easily impressed by other’s mental acuity.

  4. thegreatgabbert says: May 2, 2013 3:35 PM

    An old photo of Peyton when he was the Bigheaded Man On Campus.

  5. denverwally says: May 2, 2013 3:37 PM

    Oh is that the play he never won the national championship with? I wonder if Tee Martin used it the next season at Tennessee to actually win the national championship.

    “The Great Peyton Manning”.

  6. walker615 says: May 2, 2013 3:37 PM

    BO$$

  7. blacknole08 says: May 2, 2013 3:38 PM

    That’s a good play call. It could definitely work inside the red zone.

  8. bookofelisha says: May 2, 2013 3:41 PM

    could names of plays like this be the reason some nfl qbs dont succeed.. i mean you got to spend you first year just learning 100s of long confusing titles of names like this and then your considered a bust and its game over

    why cant they just have 1-100 or how many ever plays are in the playbook and have play next to the number so when the numbers called it wont be triple z y c pony 9-11 scramble left fake lol

  9. thegreatgabbert says: May 2, 2013 3:53 PM

    That guy in the photograph looks exactly like the well known college football player, Ryan Nassib.

  10. ebbycalvinlaloosh says: May 2, 2013 3:58 PM

    You know, this dude is the NFL’s only 4-time MVP and a Super Bowl Champion, but there always has to be some smart ass commenting about him being overrated. Most of the time it’s several smart asses. I’ll never quite understand how you criticize a guy like Manning. I mean, what’s the measuring stick? Gotta have multiple Super Bowl wins to be a considered a great player? Manning’s already got one more Super Bowl than a lot of great players and he’s not done yet. Some people, man.

  11. whatnojets says: May 2, 2013 4:00 PM

    I remember a play back in ’51 when we played Penn State. Six minutes, twenty seconds left in the fourth quarter, we ran a duo 66 left hang back forward motion, XX back to quaterback.
    Unofortunatly pass was intercepted by 54 LOB who ran it for a 30.5 yard gain.

    We lost the game

  12. fumblenuts says: May 2, 2013 4:01 PM

    “This is what he says: ‘In 1996 Tennessee played Ole Miss in Memphis. In the third quarter we ran a play called flip right duo X motion fake roll 98 block pass special.’ He said, ‘I need you to find that play, I need you to digitize it, and I need you to send it to me,’”

    Bill Belichick needs it too…..

  13. unbelieverjb says: May 2, 2013 4:02 PM

    Tee Martin? What a great Jeopardy question. No one else on earth would know who that was.

    Peyton Manning: 436 NFL TDs, 4 time NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP

    Tee Martin: 16 NFL PASSES, zero TDS

    That’s right. I’ve thrown as many NFL TDs as Tee Martin.

  14. myopinionisrighterthanyours says: May 2, 2013 4:07 PM

    As long as he doesn’t pull any plays out of any of the Gator games.

  15. btowngetsdown says: May 2, 2013 4:10 PM

    I can’t believe he remembered the name of the play. I forgot that while I was still reading it.

  16. nygiantstones says: May 2, 2013 4:13 PM

    Manning will do whatever he wants in life after he retires. I could see him being a head coach, a GM, a Senator, hell, even POTUS.

  17. cpo187 says: May 2, 2013 4:15 PM

    2 things about that:

    1) That play had went for a TD and was a very important play in the college career of Peyton Manning. Such a play would get embedded into most people’s minds.

    2) Manning rolled out to his weak side on that play and threw across his body for a TD. Manning NOW with his greatly decreased mobility would likely never be able to make such a throw.

    After Rodgers, Manning is tied with Brady for the 2nd best QB CURRENTLY in the league. Career wise him and Brady are easily the best in the league. With all his weapons this year (Welker added) I can’t see Manning throwing for less then a 65% comp, 40+ TD’s, and more then 15 int’s. He will almost ALWAYS have one of this great WR’s open. Should be a career year for him…if his neck holds up.

    P.S.- Vikings, not Broncos fan here. (I yearn for a QB with talent to land on our roster)

  18. cpo187 says: May 2, 2013 4:17 PM

    Why is there a picture of James Van Der Beek wearing a Vols jersey?

  19. denverwally says: May 2, 2013 4:25 PM

    And with the same team:

    Tee Martin – 1 national championship
    Peyton Manning – Zilch.

    Manning, one of the greatest warm weather, dome QB’s the league has ever seen.

    Thats why he is owned by every coach in the league in January. Or Bill Belichick at least.

  20. bubashep says: May 2, 2013 4:25 PM

    Oh, then he probably remembers that he went 0-3 against the mighty Gators.

  21. 8to80texansblog says: May 2, 2013 4:27 PM

    nygiantstones says:
    May 2, 2013 4:13 PM
    Manning will do whatever he wants in life after he retires. I could see him being a head coach, a GM, a Senator, hell, even POTUS.

    =========================

    I’ve always thought Manning was going into politics after football.

  22. bospat says: May 2, 2013 4:35 PM

    I’m sure he remembers all his game losing picks as well!

  23. seansds3d says: May 2, 2013 4:59 PM

    People knock Manning because they wish he played for their team and at some point he creamed their team.

    He’s an all time great who isn’t done yet. Can’t wait to watch the Broncos steam roll their opponents this year and make a Super Bowl run.

    The guy is always fun to watch and it will be a sad day when he chooses to retire.

  24. granadafan says: May 2, 2013 5:02 PM

    I can understand why he remembers that play. I still remember scoring 5 TDs in a single high school football game. Then I married a redheaded woman with a screechy voice.

  25. si1m says: May 2, 2013 5:09 PM

    Peyton then asked Harrington if he had any play of a Defense that doesn’t completely fold in the playoffs like his 2012 broncos. Harrington said yes but none of it was Colts’ tape

  26. yssupasigninnamnotyep says: May 2, 2013 5:46 PM

    Who gives a crap about ole one-and-done? And with a melon like that, is it any surprise?

  27. nashz84 says: May 2, 2013 6:01 PM

    True pro!!!! Great performer , great player, on an off field jus a true pro!!!!!

  28. wtfchiefs says: May 2, 2013 6:47 PM

    But do you think Peyton ever forgets where he put his keys?

  29. stillworker says: May 2, 2013 7:03 PM

    …………………………………………and………….what?

  30. contraisloosebuthole says: May 2, 2013 7:26 PM

    Not impressive at all. Pretty normal really. That said he is a good QB.

  31. Canyonero says: May 2, 2013 8:38 PM

    Wow, just wow

    Guess that big head’s got a big brain!

  32. singisking says: May 2, 2013 9:02 PM

    He’s a football nerd that relies upon donkey-like hardwork to try and prepare for every last eventuality. Unfortunately that still doesn’t mask his shortcomings in clutch, high-pressure and unforeseen situations, or his lack of, ahem, intestinal fortitude

  33. joetoronto says: May 3, 2013 4:17 AM

    How’s this going to help his noodle arm?

  34. CKL says: May 3, 2013 8:09 AM

    I hope he didn’t really talk to that UT employee that way: “I NEED you to do blah blah blah”. How about a little politeness?

  35. illicitbehavior says: May 3, 2013 8:38 AM

    You know, this dude is the NFL’s only 4-time MVP and a Super Bowl Champion, but there always has to be some smart ass commenting about him being overrated. Most of the time it’s several smart asses. I’ll never quite understand how you criticize a guy like Manning. I mean, what’s the measuring stick? Gotta have multiple Super Bowl wins to be a considered a great player? Manning’s already got one more Super Bowl than a lot of great players and he’s not done yet. Some people, man.

    The reason is- as great as he is, he loses a lot of games when he shouldn’t. The truly elite get it done when the time comes. NFL MVP? Who does that mean anything to besides him? The people of Indianapolis don’t care – they want rings. That’s how the lens of history judges you, like it or not. The average football fan today knows the truly elite QB’s because of their exploits in the Super Bowl. They couldn’t tell you how many NFL MVP’s Joe Montana has, or Terry Bradshaw has, but they can tell you how many Super Bowls they won, that’s for sure. You want to be elite? you have to be clutch, and when the game is on the line – Manning chokes a lot.

  36. steelerben says: May 3, 2013 2:10 PM

    @illicitbehavior

    By your logic Trent Dilfer is a better quarterback than Marino was. I’m not buying it.

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