There are certain people in the world that I could just sit and listen to for days while they talk football. Peyton Manning and Bill Belichick are two of those people.
What a treat it would have been to be a fly on the wall during their little chit chat they apparently had at the Pro Bowl back in the day — the legend of which has since been growing.
Sports writer Seth Wickersham provided some insight on the lunch date between Belichick and Manning in his recently released book about the Patriots titled, “It’s Better To Be Feared.”
According to Wickersham, Belichick drank Coronas while Manning drank Budweiser. The head coach and star quarterback moved salt and pepper shakers around a table to talk Xs and Os and simulate game play.
Wickersham says both men were trying to get the other drunk in order to soften their guard and steal some insight for their future battles. This was apparently a popular tactic of Peyton’s, as he was known to take out opposing players for drinks in order to get some insight into their gameplan. However, when it came to using that strategy with Belichick, it didn’t have the same level of success.
“Alcohol seemed to strengthen their hardwired urge to obfuscate and lie rather than weakening it,” Wickersham wrote. “At the end of four hours, they gave up.”
According to Wickersham, Belichick later said: “I didn’t really get anything out of it. I hope he didn’t either.”
Wickersham isn’t the first to discuss the popular meeting. Eddie White, who was Reebok’s vice president of NFL team properties at the time, talked about the the meeting with the Indy Star back in 2017, prior to the unveiling of Peyton Manning’s statue in Indianapolis.
We’re at the Pro Bowl one year in Honolulu. Bill Belichick is the coach of the AFC team, and Peyton Manning is the quarterback of the AFC team. After a morning practice, they go and have lunch together, just the two of them. They’re sitting there at this restaurant, Belichick drinking Coronas and wearing a Patriots visor, Peyton drinking Budweiser, of course, and wearing his Colts visor. And they’re there for hours. These guys are lining up beer bottles, moving around salt and pepper shakers like they’re offensive linemen! People would walk by, sort of stare for a second then get a “Don’t bother us” face from Belichick or Peyton. To me it was like an NFL meeting between George Halas and Vince Lombardi back in the ’40s.
Peyton Manning finished with an all-time regular season record of 6-13 against Bill Belichick, including losses in each of his last four starts against the Pats. On the flip side, he won his final three playoff meetings with Bill, after losing the first two.
So I guess we can call their battle over some poolside beers a draw?