Manning feared he couldn’t coexist with Harbaugh

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So why didn’t the 49ers’ evaluation of quarterback Peyton Manning become a full-blown pursuit and ultimate acquisition of Peyton Manning?

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Manning ultimately chose not to make the 49ers a finalist for his services.  Apart from Manning preferring to stay in the AFC, the wind and precipitation at Candlestick Park (where Manning would have played for two years) were factors.  Another factor was the potential for friction between Manning and coach Jim Harbaugh.  According to the source, Manning feared that it would be difficult for a pair of ultra-competitive men to coexist.

In Denver, Manning enjoys a high degree of autonomy on of the offensive side of the ball, especially since coach John Fox worked as a defensive coordinator.  In San Francisco, Manning and Harbaugh each would have wanted to run the offense.  And they each would have been willing to argue aggressively in support of their ideas and preferences.

Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine recently repeated a story that had made the rounds in 2012 regarding the interactions of Harbaugh and Manning.

“Harbaugh and Manning were throwing the ball, so it goes, when the coach couldn’t help but remark that his passes had more mustard on them than the still-rehabbing future Hall of Famer’s did,” Wickersham wrote. “You can guess how that went over.”

In the end, Manning decided not to go over to the 49ers.  Eventually, the finalists were the Broncos, Titans, and Cardinals.  Other teams that wanted a seat at the table didn’t get one, including the Seahawks and the Chiefs.

The official story from the 49ers is that they weren’t pursuing Manning at all.

“There’s a perception out there and it’s an erroneous perception that we were flirting with Peyton Manning,” coach Jim Harbaugh said in May 2012, more than two months after Manning picked the Broncos.  “I keep hearing it over and over.  It’s silly and it’s untrue. It’s phony.  Even the perception that we were pursuing.  We were evaluating.  I’ve said all along that Alex Smith has been our quarterback.  There’s no scenario, other than Alex choosing to sign with another team, that we would consider him not as our quarterback.”

Of course, there was another scenario in which the 49ers would consider Alex Smith not their quarterback.  It unfolded during the 2012 season after Smith suffered a concussion and Colin Kaepernick emerged.  The 49ers then traded Smith to the Chiefs.

40 responses to “Manning feared he couldn’t coexist with Harbaugh

  1. Can we get some info on the Texans (reported) rejection of Manning in 2012? Lemme guess, Rick Smith whispered into Bob McNair’s ear in the owners box and put it all on Kubiak.

  2. If Papa John is a “scumbag” then he and Peyton should get along great…some people know the real Manning instead of the fraudulent image he possesses…many in Indy know the truth…but you don’t dare say it out loud…one VP of a big Colts sponsor called him “the biggest jerk phony I ever met” after doing corporate promotionals with him

  3. He went to Denver because the Broncos had just made the playoffs with literally the worst QB in NFL history under center.

    He knew if the team was a playoff team for Tebow it would be at worst a SB contender if not the favorite.

  4. Too bad manning didn’t want to play for a coach who actually coaches. If he did, the so called greatest QB of all time might have more SB rings than Trent Dilfer, Joe Flacco, Brad Johnson, etc…

  5. denverdude7 says:
    Oct 19, 2014 9:30 PM
    Not even the 49ers get along with Harbaugh.

    Plus Peyton is too smart to play for a team like Santa Clara.

    _________________________________

    Dude. Seriously.
    Manning is hands down the best in-season QB of all time.

    He’s average when it has really…truly mattered. And until he changes that……………………………..
    He’ll be #5 best QB of all time………………………

  6. peyton isn’t making the commercials just for papa john–he’s making them for HIMSELF…he owns several p/j pizza parlors…so, he’s invested in p/j’s success…you’re right, though papa is a goofball…i can’t stand him and would NEVER buy a p/j pie…kudos to peyton for breaking the record tonight and continuing to add to it…he made the best choice he COULD have made…no one understands type A quarterbacks like another type A q/b…elway saw himself in peyton…plus, they had gotten rid of the d/b shanahan…no coach in his right mind would try to “coach” peyton…

  7. If that’s true about Manning, I’ve lost respect. In other words, Peyton doesn’t want a coach he wants a sycophant. And he doesn’t want to play in conditions unless they’re just perfect for him. He’s ultracompetitive as long as he plays in pristine conditions. No wonder he fails in the big game all the time.

  8. Peyton is good but NOT the best!
    Quarterback ranking:

    Regular Season: Peyton Manning

    Playoffs: Joe Montana, Tom Brady

    Overall ranking: 1. Montana 2. Brady 3. Manning

    Based on Regular Season and Playoff Stats!!

  9. Harbough has the maturity of a ten year old….Peyton would never play for that clown in a million years…and that 4th TD bomb to Thomas tonight was just designed to STICK IT to Jimmy H for the ‘my passes have more mustard than yours do’ comments…take that you ignoramus…you’ll be out of the league within 2 years…your own team hates you…

  10. Manning was smart to avoid a raging maniac like Harbag. Imagine having that clown scream in your face when you accomplished more in one season than Mr Khaki did in his entire career. I was surprised that Peyton didn’t seriously consider Seattle. I am guessing Manning regretted this after the Super Bowl 48 loss.

  11. Kind of sad Manning didn’t break the record as a Colt. But look what we got in return. Luck, it appears, will be great long after Manning has retired with his bucket of records and 1 SB ring (when he should have had at least 2 and as many as 4).

  12. If that’s true about Manning, I’ve lost respect. In other words, Peyton doesn’t want a coach he wants a sycophant. And he doesn’t want to play in conditions unless they’re just perfect for him. He’s ultracompetitive as long as he plays in pristine conditions. No wonder he fails in the big game all the time.
    ———————————————————————

    Seriously? It’s a business…. he had to make a huge decision and took all factors into account. You just made assumptions by “spinning” those factors into meaning something about his character. Not to mention, Harbaugh is a giant douche, even if he is a really good coach.

  13. I’m glad he went to Denver ,Kaepernick has a lot more upside won’t be long b4 Manning retires then what?you sorry Broncos are stuck with Osweiler?or however you spell his name not to mention that huge contract Manning got you can have him

  14. Harbaugh is a knucklehead, but as a Bears fan I admire that he never complained about the absolute punishment he took on the field. Somehow he always managed to stagger to his feet. And these young guys who don’t understand that Cutler is the best thing we’ve had since Sid Luckman.

  15. Manning weighed everything and made a good decision. Denver is a great football town, he’s got a great group of receivers and he gets on with Elway. What’s not to like? SF is good, too, though Harbaugh seems VERY tightly wound.

  16. If the 49ers had the Peyton Manning who played for the Broncos Sunday night in the Super Bowl against the Ravens or in the NFC Championship game against Seattle, they’d have a couple more Lombardi Trophies and Manning would have two more rings.

    The problem is that Sunday night’s Peyton Manning doesn’t make it to the post-season. The January version of Peyton Manning passes about as well as Kaepernick, doesn’t run nearly as well and costs a lot more. The 49ers have needed a post-season QB the last 3 years, not a guy who lights it up in October.

  17. Not even a mention of Papa Johns in the story, yet the first few comments are about the Pizza Joint. I’d say that’s proof Peyton’s link up with Papa John has worked out well for both of them.

  18. Peyton was never gonna play in the same conference as his brother. From the very start, they’ve hoped to play each other in a Super Bowl. Hasn’t happened yet and probably never will, but Peyton was always gonna stay with the AFC.

  19. Tell us more about the phony side of Peyton Manning. I’d much rather PFT tapped your ‘sources’ for some of that instead of all the nauseating adulation.

  20. ” Other teams that wanted a seat at the table didn’t get one, including the Seahawks.”
    ********

    So, Seattle didn’t forget that dis….SMACK-down!

  21. ” He went to Denver because the Broncos had just made the playoffs with literally the worst QB in NFL history under center.

    He knew if the team was a playoff team for Tebow it would be at worst a SB contender if not the favorite.”

    *****
    that was prophetic….but that dream ended in a SB nightmare.

  22. Peyton will go down in history as the greatest QB to ever play the game. Only has 1 Ring true (How many did Marino Have ? Zero. Denver’s got a great defense this year. He’ll get his second ring will be the 1st to do it with 2 different teams then BAM “Discussion Over”

  23. I’ve always wondered if someone as competitive as Harbaugh also secretly kinda hated Manning. Harbaugh was traded after the Colts abysmal 1997 season to make room for their #1 pick Manning. You never can quite get yourself to like your replacement.

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