Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll flew to Denver hoping to get a meeting with free-agent quarterback Peyton Manning. It was 2012 after Manning’s time with the Colts had come to a close, but the Seahawks were not on the list of teams to get an official visit from Manning.
Carroll is not known to give up easily and thought he could create a meeting with Manning by coming to his location. Manning admitted to The Athletic that he left Carroll waiting on the tarmac.
“Pete Carroll flew to Denver on the Seahawks’ plane and was at the Denver airport (before I left for Arizona) and he sent me a text,” Manning explained. “He said, ‘Hey, I’m out here, would love to come out here and visit.’ He was very nice and respectful, and I really tried to be nice and respectful in the same way. I called Pete and said, ‘Pete, I just don’t feel comfortable doing that. I’m going to honor my commitment to go out to Arizona.'”
At that point, Manning had already visited with the Broncos and also took a short meeting with then-Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan while he was in Denver. Manning was scheduled to meet with the Cardinals, and Carroll was not able to convince the quarterback to have an impromptu talk with the Seahawks.
After Getting Turned Down by Peyton Manning, the Seahawks Signed Matt Flynn & Drafted Russell Wilson
Looking back, the Seahawks offseason in 2012 had many twists and turns, especially at quarterback. It was clear that the Seahawks wanted an upgrade at the position but struck out with Manning. The Seahawks opted to sign Matt Flynn to a three-year, $26 million deal just weeks after getting the cold shoulder from Manning.
Seattle then made a move that would alter the franchise’s history. The Seahawks selected Russell Wilson in the third round of the NFL draft, but Flynn was still expected to start. Flynn had shined with the Packers in a limited number of starts behind Aaron Rodgers. Carroll made it an open competition in training camp, and Wilson was able to win the starting job thanks to brilliant performances in the preseason.
Manning Admitted He Had ‘Never Had Anybody Just Show up on a Plane Unannounced’
Manning may have brushed off the Seahawks, but it was Seattle that got the last laugh. The Seahawks dominated Manning and the Broncos two years later in Super Bowl XLVIII. Manning admitted that it was the first time anyone had been waiting for him unannounced on a plane.
“[Brandon] Stokley was killing me about that. ‘This guy flew all the way here and you won’t even get on a plane to see him?’” Manning recalled to The Athletic. “I said, ‘Look, this is all new to me.’ It kind of takes you back to college recruiting a little bit, but I never had anybody just show up on a plane unannounced and say, ‘Will you come and get on the plane?’”
Carroll spoke about the encounter prior to the 2014 Super Bowl and described it as “classic…just competing.”
“Yeah, we tried to hook up with him and we couldn’t make it come together,” Carroll said, per Sports Illustrated. “We tried to fit in to their schedule that looked like it had some space in it, but there wasn’t enough. So we made an effort. It’s kind of just classic for us – just competing to try to find a way and we just couldn’t pull it off at that time. We had to take a shot at that. It didn’t work out for us there. We had already spoken before that and we just couldn’t quite get together on it.”
NBC Sports’ Peter King noted that Manning was “put off” by the fact that the Seahawks flew to see him even after he turned down a meeting.
“[Manning] almost put off by the fact that you spent all this time and energy and fuel and whatever to come down here when I told you, ‘It’s not going to happen. I’m not doing it,’” King noted on Sports Illustrated’s The Record podcast (via Yahoo Sports).