NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – Peyton Manning is not interested in talking about where his career stands in football history.
Not right now, anyway. Not when he’s still playing. And certainly not less than a week from playing in the Super Bowl for the Denver Broncos.
As collected and measured as he is while standing in a pocket, Manning coasted through the circus that is Media Day, opining on his family’s favorite beer, politely evading silly questions about reality TV — and avoiding any wild pronouncements.
Reporters repeatedly brought up the word “legacy” as the 37-year-old Manning, a four-time NFL MVP who broke records by throwing for 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards this season, sat through his hour-long session Tuesday.
Hardly surprising that he never took the bait.
“I’ve been being asked about my legacy since I was about 25 years old. I’m not sure you can have a legacy when you’re 25 years old. Even 37,” Manning said in response to the first such query. “I’d like to have to be, like, 70 to have a legacy. I’m not even 100 percent sure what the word even means.”
Then, in about the closest thing to a stumble, Manning continued: “I’m still in the middle of my career.”
At least one of the dozens of assembled media members gasped, “middle?!”
Realizing his miscue, Manning chuckled and went on.
“Let me rephrase that,” he resumed. “I’m down the homestretch of my career, but I’m still in it. It’s not over yet. And so it’s still playing out. This has been the second chapter of my career.”
Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks will be Manning’s third appearance in a Super Bowl.
The other two came with the Indianapolis Colts. He helped that franchise win the NFL championship game in 2007, then lost in the 2010 Super Bowl.
Panthers extend Rivera
Charlotte North Carolina AP
Ron Rivera is staying in Carolina after leading the Panthers to their first playoff appearance since 2008.
The Panthers rewarded “Riverboat Ron” on Tuesday with a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2017 season after Carolina finished 12-4 this season and won the NFC South championship.
Carolina lost at home in the divisional playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers.
Rivera started the season on the hot seat after a 1-3 start, but the Panthers rebounded to win 11 of their final 12 regular season games to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Rivera had one year left on the four-year, $11.2 million contract he signed in 2011 when first hired as head coach.
Financial details of the new deal were not immediately available.
“The improvement of our team has been reflected in the progress of the record over the last three seasons under Ron and we look forward to building upon that foundation,” Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said in a release.
Rivera is 25-23 in three seasons as the Panthers head coach.
The decision to extend Rivera isn’t surprising.
Cowboys shuffle deck
Irving Texas AP
The Dallas Cowboys decided one year with Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator and Bill Callahan as play-caller was enough.
Kiffin was demoted Tuesday in favor of defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, and Scott Linehan was hired as the passing game coordinator who will call plays.
The staff shuffling comes after the Cowboys gave up the most yards in franchise history and finished last in the NFL in total defense and had their worst offensive output in yardage since 2005.
Kiffin and Marinelli came to Dallas together last year after the Cowboys decided to switch to a four-man front with three linebackers following nearly a decade in the 3-4 defense.
Quarterback Tony Romo will have his third play-caller in as many seasons after Garrett had that role in 2012. There was even a change in the middle of this past season when Garrett reinserted himself by relaying the calls from Callahan to Romo.
“It’s not really a concern at all,” Garrett said. “We’ve had the same offensive system in place here for seven years. We feel like the transition will be really relatively smooth for everybody.”
Garrett is entering the final season of his contract and is coming off three straight 8-8 seasons that extended the club’s playoff drought to four straight years.