According to a new book, Bill Belichick and Peyton Manning once drank beers poolside at a Pro Bowl.
They used salt and pepper shakers to discuss strategy, hoping secrets would be revealed.
Neither gave anything away, as both men were determined to never give the other an edge.
Bill Belichick and Peyton Manning attempted to get any advantage they could over one another when they were rivals in the 2000s.
According to Seth Wickersham’s book on the New England Patriots, “It’s Better To Be Feared,” at the Pro Bowl one year, Belichick and Manning once hung out, poolside, drinking beers, and talking strategy.
According to Wickersham, Belichick drank Coronas while Manning drank Budweiser. The head coach and star quarterback moved salt and pepper shakers around a table to talk Xs and Os and simulate game play.
Wickersham wrote that “one of Manning’s favorite tricks” was to take players out to drinks and “mine” them for secrets as the alcohol set it.
However, neither he or Belichick got very far.
“Alcohol seemed to strengthen their hardwired urge to obfuscate and lie rather than weakening it,” Wickersham wrote. “At the end of four hours, they gave up.”
According to Wickersham, Belichick later said: “I didn’t really get anything out of it. I hope he didn’t either.”
Eddie White, the former Reebok vice president of NFL team properties, told the same story to the Indy Star in 2017. White said people would occasionally stop by the table to watch before getting a “Don’t bother us” look from either Belichick or Manning.
White said he asked both of them years later if they got anything from the other, and they both said, “Hell no.”
Of course, Manning always safeguarded his secrets around Belichick. When playing the Patriots in Foxborough, Manning used to talk to players in the showers and hallways, believing his locker had been bugged.
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