ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Peyton Manning is a future Hall of Famer because he's one of the most unflappable quarterbacks under a heavy pass rush; he always has a game plan, and rarely deviates from his short- and long-term mission when he's under siege.
That's not just how he plays; it's a personality trait. So with a fusillade of questions looming about his reaction to the statements of Colts owner Jim Irsay regarding his Indianapolis legacy, Manning sidestepped them as he would a pass rush.
He knew the game that a horde of media from Denver, Indianapolis and beyond wanted to play, and was unwilling to be drawn into it. This was going to be on his terms, and at his pace -- just like what he wants out of a game itself.
To the Denver media, he responded to a question about Irsay's comments in USA Today simply:
"I don't have any answer for you on that or any comment on any of that."
To the Indianapolis media at Colts headquarters listening on a conference call, he replied to a question on whether he wanted to comment on his relationship with Irsay with even fewer words:
"No. I can't, and I won't."
Irsay's comments could be construed as bulletin-board material -- that is, if the Broncos bought into that cliché. They believe they're beyond such simplistic motivational tactics.
"I would say it can motivate teams but it probably motivates those teams that are not hungry or anything like that," said cornerback Chris Harris Jr. "We're a hungry team. So regardless of if he said anything or not, we're trying to continue on, stay undefeated and that's our goal."
Harris and other Broncos admitted they weren't aware of Irsay's exact words -- not that they would have cared one way or the other.
"It doesn't even matter. He's not even a player," said defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. "I have respect for him but at the same time he's not putting on pads, helmets. So his are just words, he's alright.
"He can't downplay anything that Peyton did. The guy rewrote the whole playbook, the stats, the history of it," Vickerson continued, with a laugh. "Come on, man."
The air is polluted with potential distractions, whether they involve pregame ceremonies or owner comments. But they're only a distraction if you allow them to be. Manning has not -- and, based on the past 15-plus seasons, he will not.
"He's preparing like he does every week," said wide receiver Eric Decker. "I think we know what kind of the hype is outside, but inside this locker room, we still take it one game at a time and just focus on the game itself. Don't worry about the extra incentives that may be intact. We've got a good football team we're playing and we've got to make sure we show up and play."
And that's the priority. Not marinating over a former boss's comments, or dwelling on past accomplishments.
"Well, I guess my focus is on the Broncos trying to be successful," said Manning. "And I'm trying to do my job to help them."