As the 20-year old incident involving Peyton Manning and Jamie Naughright suddenly becoming incredibly prevalent recently, countless words have been written about the subject and people have spent countless hours trying to piece together the information.
More information and documents have become available in recent days, including a copy of the deposition of Manning in the 2003 defamation suit. The Washington Post put up the document of Naughright's lawyer, Bob Puterbaugh, questioning Manning extensively, and CBS Sports' Will Brinson took a look at it to identify some of the more interesting parts (because, let's face it, depositions aren't too exciting). Puterbaugh questioned Manning to great length about a Sports Illustrated article saying he threw "hissy fits," a meeting with his high school basketball coach, and his comments about Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt.
Yes, the lawyer for Jamie Naughright actually was questioning Manning extensively about those topics and a variety of others. His point likely was to create the picture of Manning as a guy with an attitude problem in order to try to create support in Naughright's defamation case. Of particular note to Colts fans, however, was that Manning was questioned over his now famous "idiot kicker" remarks regarding Mike Vanderjagt.
Following a playoff loss in 2002, Vanderjagt - at the time the Colts' kicker and among the best in the league at his position - did an interview in which he questioned whether Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy could really lead the Colts where they needed to go, as Vanderjagt said he didn't have much confidence in the direction of the team at the moment. The comments, of course, got quite a bit of attention, and Manning was asked about it while at the Pro Bowl.
"Here we are, I'm out at my third Pro Bowl, I'm about to go in and throw a touchdown to Jerry Rice, we're honoring the Hall of Fame, and we're talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off," Manning said, according to ESPN. "The sad thing is, he's a good kicker. He's a good kicker. But he's an idiot." Manning added that he would deal with it when he got home - "if he's still a teammate."
It was as animated and as candid of an answer as we've seen from Manning, and it remains a classic soundbite for Colts fans. It became even more of a beloved clip after the 2005 season, when Vanderjagt missed a potential game-tying field goal in the final minute against the Steelers to end the Colts' season, one in which they had arguably the best team of the Manning era. That was his final kick in a Colts uniform, and it's safe to say he hasn't been the most popular figure in Indy since then.
What's interesting, however, is that Manning was asked about it by Puterbaugh during that 2003 deposition over a defamation case. As Brinson pointed out, here's the transcript:
Q: Now this article that you have in front of you refers to an incident at the Pro Bowl this year, does it not, sir?
A: Yes, it does.
Q: Would you characterize that as a hissy fit?
Q: Would you characterize it as a tantrum?
Q: An eruption?
Q: An outburst.
Q: A flare-up?
Q: Wasn't it just a little bit of a flare-up?
A: It was an interview.
Q: It was an interview, but did you flare up during that interview?
A: I don't believe that I did. I believe it was an interview.
Q: Did you explode during that interview?
A: I don't believe so.
Q: Did you call your kicker on your team an idiot?
A: I did.
The above wasn't all that Manning was asked about his "idiot kicker" either, as Puterbaugh also spent several questions trying to get Manning to define the word "idiot," whether he was meaning kickers in general or his kicker, and things like that. Some of the questions that Manning was asked seem incredibly stupid, even though it's possible to see what Naughright's lawyer was getting at. Puterbaugh apparently thought it was relevant enough to ask Manning about his "idiot kicker" comments, which he classified as simply an interview. It was indeed just an interview, but it's one that will live on in infamy among Colts fans for years to come.