New England Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones was the first signal-caller not to talk to Peyton Manning before ESPN2’s “Manningcast” broadcast this season, according to the Hall of Famer turned analyst.
Manning explained during Monday night’s game against the Bills how he reached out to Jones, and then the Patriots media relations department, to request an interview with the rookie quarterback. He was denied.
“Mac Jones, he was very respectful. He said, ‘Peyton, I want to do it. But can you call our PR director, Stacey (James) because he kind of has to oversee all things. I said ‘No problem.’ I called Stacey very professional, I said ‘Stacey, I’m talking to Coach Belichick, can I talk to Mac Jones? And I gotta tell you, I appreciate how they’re handling Mac Jones. They are trying trying to protect him. Give him as few off-the-field distractions as possible, let him concentrate on playing football.”
Manning, however, didn’t seem to take it to heart. In fact, he actually compared it to an experience he had during his own rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts.
“So yes, I did get denied. It was the first quarterback I haven’t talked to, but I appreciate it,” Manning said. “Bill Polian, as a rookie with me with the Colts did the same thing. He didn’t let the marketing department talk to me, the Community Relations Department talk to me. He said, ‘Hey, it’s all football this first season. Don’t bother him.’ And I think the Patriots are taking that same approach with Mac Jones and it’s paying off, it’s working.”
Manning’s point is true in that regard. Jones has been the best rookie quarterback on the season, and the Week 13 game against the Bills was arguably his biggest challenge of the season. Now we’ll have to wait and see if denying the request helped Jones and the Patriots to a pivotal AFC East win.
… Maybe Manning can get the postgame?