Peyton Manning developed a reputation in the NFL for his antics at the line of scrimmage, calling out plenty of audibles along with plenty of dummy calls, but in recent years “Omaha” has grown very popular as people heard Manning call it out frequently.
But even though Omaha is now probably his most popular audible, Manning isn’t about to forget some of the others - namely, the “apple, apple” call that Colts fans remember well. And as he helped with the design of the statue of Manning that will be placed outside Lucas Oil Stadium, Manning made sure that even that detail was correct.
Local sculptor Ryan Feeney is tasked with constructing the statue of the legendary Colts quarterback, and recently WTHR’s Bob Kravitz spoke with Feeney about it - and Kravitz also got a chance to see the statue and was impressed.
Manning has been helping Feeney out, including one meeting that likely will make Colts fans smile. In what must have been an incredible experience, Manning donned his old Colts uniform once again - down to the last detail - so that Feeney could get the best look possible at angles for the statue. As Kravitz wrote:
As you most certainly expected, Manning is very much involved. After Feeney got the assignment of a lifetime, the Colts arranged to send Feeney on Jim Irsay’s private jet to Nashville, where Feeney and his photography team met with Manning in an airport conference room. There, Manning dressed up like he was a Colt once again, wore the old white-and-blue, the old knee brace…everything.
Then comes perhaps my favorite part of the story. While Manning was dressed up, he was calling out audibles as if it were a game, and he was calling out “apple, apple!” The people there brought up “Omaha” - only to have Manning correct them! Kravitz continued:
"It was totally surreal,’" said Feeney. "I’m 5-6 and he’s 6-5 and he looks like he could carry me in a baby’s carriage, like I’m standing in a hole. We were going to take pictures of him throwing and he said, 'I’ve got to throw to somebody,' so I said, 'Well, don’t throw it to me because if I drop it, you’ll get all mad at me.' I was trying to make a joke, but he didn’t laugh, and I’m thinking, 'Uh-oh.' After that, I was like, I don’t want to waste his time; I was as serious as he was. So then we’re doing audibles and he’s up there in this conference room and he’s screaming out '52’s the Mike, 52’s the Mike,' and he’s really getting into it while he’s calling out to Marvin or Reggie, saying 'Apple, apple.' We’re like, 'Isn’t it supposed to be Omaha?’ 'No, it was apple in Indianapolis and Omaha in Denver.'"
Though Omaha took on a life of its own during Manning’s time in Denver, the quarterback knows that it wasn’t always his signature call. And even in a photo shoot for a statue of him, where it really wouldn’t matter whatsoever if he called out “Omaha” as a sort of fan-service to those watching, he wanted to do it the right way. So, there was no Omaha, because that was Denver-era Peyton. Before Omaha, there was “Apple, apple,” and if he was in his Colts uniform again that was going to be his audible. That’s typical Peyton Manning - always wanting all of the details to be correct - and I’m sure it’s something that Colts fans love hearing.
The Colts will unveil the statue, which will forever stand outside of Lucas Oil Stadium, on Saturday, October 7. The following day, the Colts will host the 49ers for a week five contest and at halftime will officially retire Manning’s number 18 and induct him into the Ring of Honor. It will be very interesting to see the statue, but Kravitz wrote that he thinks it is “incredible.”
Manning’s statue will ensure that the legend will forever be a part of the Colts’ gameday experience, just like the quarterback will forever be the largest figure in franchise history. In the grand scheme of things, him getting the audible call right is a very minor thing, but it’s that kind of detail that I think is awesome and that I’m sure Colts fans agree with. While everyone remembers his “Omaha” call, Manning isn’t forgetting his signature call in Indianapolis. Before there was Omaha, there was Apple - and Peyton Manning isn’t about to forget about that.