John Taylor: July 30, 2014
Stepping behind the podium, it sure helps when an all-star quarterback can also throw some dazzling word spirals.
“Pressure is what you feel when you don’t know what you’re doing,” said Peyton Manning, taking care to distinguish it from nervousness and anxiety – sensations he admits to experiencing.
Football and healthcare have a lot in common, he told about 1,500 people attending the annual American Hospital Association healthcare summit in San Diego. Clear boundaries. Strict rules. Zero margin of error.
“In your profession, vision may be as essential to survival as oxygen is to the brain,” Manning said, quickly adding that vision is not the same thing as sight.
And vision spurs positive change. “Game-changers have to thrive on being uncomfortable. … I’m always looking to be coached, for ways to improve. I get angry when I’m not being coached.”
Apart from career-changing neck surgeries, Manning has more than passing interest in healthcare. During his 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, he and his wife developed close ties with and gave financial donations to what is now called the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Francis in Indianapolis. The now-Denver Broncos star also created the Peyback Foundation for disadvantaged children.
When the moderator asked him how it feels to connect for a touchdown, he downplayed both the joy – as well as the disappointment of tossing an interception. “You have to get back to zero,” he said, wash it out of your head and get to the next play – sounding very much like former Major League Baseball relief pitcher Mariano Rivera. (Asked who were his sports heroes, he mentioned former-quarterback father Archie and Giants quarterback brother Eli --- and retiring Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter “because of his work ethic.”)
Asked what he planned to do when he retires, Manning chuckled. He said he’d heard players discuss their future options, thinking to himself – he dropped five passes this game or he missed two blocks. They better take care of their day jobs. Nothing to say about his future, Manning said: “You have to be all in (on what you’re doing today).”