During the Denver Broncos (4-0) 52-20 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) on Sunday afternoon, several Philly defenders found humor in mocking quarterback Peyton Manning and his pre-snap performances.
It is well known that Manning likes to change plays at the line of scrimmage after observing how the defense has aligned prior to the snap. A slightly exaggerated reenactment of Manning's tactics can be seen below:
Manning has become synonymous with audibles—even in the popular Madden NFL video game, Manning is "programmed" to often change the play at the line of scrimmage when you play against him—gasp!—yes, I have done that before.
His tactics—whether waving his arms, giving hand signals or simply shouting out a random code—are often humorous to behold. It should come as no surprise then that Philly's defense mocked his antics on Sunday.
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer was critical of defensive end Fletcher Cox over the incident:
DENVER - Peyton Manning was changing the play at the line of scrimmage, waving his hands and pointing as he has always done, and Fletcher Cox mimicked the Broncos quarterback with gyrations of his own.
Tip No. 1 to Cox: Don't make fun of legends.
Manning handed off to Knowshon Moreno, and the running back rushed to his right directly at Cox's side of the field and picked up an easy 10 yards.
Tip No. 2 to Cox: Don't mock a legend when his offense is humiliating your defense and you end up recording only a single assisted tackle for the entire game.
At a different time in the game, Manning approached the line of scrimmage to call another audible and what sounded like several Eagles defenders started shouting "Papa John's! Papa John's!" Manning, of course, is in a partnership with Papa John's Pizza.
There has been some confusion as to whether or not it was Eagles defenders or Broncos offensive linemen that were calling out "Papa John's," but Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin seemingly accredited it to Philly's defense:
"I think I might have heard Papa John’s once, but I don’t know who said it, I mean that’s kind of funny," Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin told 94WIP’s Michael Barkann and Ike Reese on Monday. "When any quarterback goes and talks at the line or any center, they start yelling ‘Mike’s 59′ or ’98′s the 4th down’ where they try to figure out the protection, we, on defense, we start, like I’ll say—if they start yelling ’98′s down, meaning I’m the fourth rusher, I’ll start yelling ’59′s down’ because it just confuses them. We can say, we tell the referee that we’re changing who our fourth is upon what they say. So that kind of stuff happens all the time when quarterbacks are making calls and defenses are trying to make calls back."
Video of the play can be seen below:
Though mildly humorous, mocking Manning obviously did not work for the Eagles. Peyton finished the game 28-of-34 for 327 yards and four touchdowns as Denver claimed their 15th-straight regular season victory.
(Hat tip to For the Win!, CBS Philly, and ProFootballTalk.)