Peyton Manning played most of his 17-year NFL career with an unmistakable red blotch on his prodigious forehead. It became almost a comforting side of normalcy. No matter what else was going on in our fickle lives, Manning could always be counted on to show the signs of irritation front and center, as a testament to just how much brain power he was trying to cram under that lid. We didn't, as a society, fully appreciate just how much we'd miss the weird little calling card in Manning's retirement.
Manning, who will join his brother Eli in an alternate Monday Night Football broadcast a few times this year, swung by Pardon My Take and fielded questions about the blotch. He took the time to confirm that, yeah, the helmet was really tight but he was under the impression that was a good sign.
Well, I mean, it's such a big forehead, so there's so much room for the camera to zoom in on it, right? It's a big target. Probably who I blame for the red forehead was, like every year, you sort of get refitted for your helmet, right? The makers of Riddell come in and just want to check the helmet, be sure it still fits, and they would always tell me, 'Hey, the red forehead, that means the helmet fits just right. That means it's tight, it's close to your head, it's going to prevent injuries, it's perfect.'
This is actually a nice little microcosm of the Peyton Manning experience. The guy wasted precisely 0.0 calories ever trying to be cool. It was all about the bottom line, which was winning ball games. If that took pouring a 10-gallon head into a 7-gallon helmet, those were the breaks. Whatever it took to protect that cranium of his.
Honestly, this is precisely the approach I'd have as a football helmet representative. Uhh, yeah it's supposed to leave a big red mark. Uhh, yeah it's supposed to jostle around like that. Whatever needed to be said to keep the line moving on. We're all just working for the weekend anyway.