NFL Network asked two of the best athletes of their generations -- Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant and retired New York Yankees baseball great Derek Jeter -- to talk about the greatness of Peyton Manning.
Both men talked about how to play on the big stage, as Manning will be today when his Broncos play the favored Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
“It becomes a very executional (CQ) thing,” Bryant said, “a very cold thing. For the fans, it’s a very different experience. For guys like myself and Peyton, who have the responsibility of getting our team to the championship, we have to view it as such.”
“A lot of times, people get in big games and put so much pressure on themselves and don’t get a chance to enjoy it,” he said. “So I looked at it as just another game.”
Jeter said he appreciates Manning’s dedication through a long career.
“The thing I’ve enjoyed most watching Peyton Manning is his pursuit of perfection,” Jeter said. “He puts the work in. He puts the hours in and he’s a sponge for knowledge.”
Both men also discussed Manning’s past Super Bowl losses and his legacy.
“When you’re used to being able to perform at a particular level and now it’s more difficult to get back to that level, it can frustrating,” Jeter said. “At the same time, you realize that it’s happened to everyone. I admire Peyton so much because he may not throw as far as he once did in college, but you know he’s going to make the adjustment.”
Bryant said -- regardless of the outcome today -- Manning will be a winner.
“I’ve always said I believed that failure is really non-existent,” Bryant said. “What is failure? You go to the end of the season and lose the Super Bowl? Is that failing To most people, maybe. But when you’re picking apart why you lost and you’re learning from that, is that really failing? I don’t think so....The end (of a career) to me is the most beautiful part of it all. That’s when you can look back and appreciate every life lesson that you’ve had. You can take them with you.”