NEWARK, N.J. -- What's the first image that pops to mind when you think of Peyton Manning?
For me, it's this. Manning, ankle being treated in a tub, helmet on so he can listen to play calls in practice, eyes intently studying the playbook on his iPad.
The iPad is ubiquitous. I talked to several of Manning's Denver Broncos teammates during Super Bowl Media Day, and the iPad kept coming up. Manning, 16 years deep into his career and now at Master Level status at his position, still works harder than anyone else.
"When Peyton joined our team, we had those little iPads with all our film on it and he never sets it down," tight end Julius Thomas said. "He's got it in the training room, he's got it in the lunch room. He never stops preparing.
"You hear Peyton all the time talking about enjoying the preparation part. He really does. He's in there taking notes like any rookie. He's in there taking notes, watching film, correcting things and that's what makes him special."
"I'll just say for as long as he's played, he never loses that fire," wide receiver Eric Decker said. "He prepares like no other every day throughout the season. I think that in itself is such a feat. It becomes a long season. You're tired physically, you're tired emotionally. He does not miss a beat."
Denver Broncos Media DayTake a look at the scene inside the Prudential Center as the Denver Broncos face the media before Super Bowl XLVIII>
"He'll stop a lot of receivers midway through the locker room," Vasquez said. "It seems like he's going about his business and all of a sudden he'll stop and ask a question about a route or even with us, a question about protection. Usually when guys are in the locker room, you stop to take a break. But his mind is always going. It just shows how professional he is. It's always in his mind on how to win the next game."
And that photo of Manning studying by the tub? Just another day at the office.
"Nobody in our facility would find that strange," Thomas said. "That's the passion and the preparation he brings to every game every Sunday."The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.