STILLWATER — As a Super Bowl Champion and five-time NFL MVP, Peyton Manning is used to being a game changer.
When the Denver Broncos’ quarterback spoke to 4,250 people at Oklahoma State University’s Gallagher-Iba Arena on Wednesday, having a game-changer mentality in life was a big part of his message.
Manning said that’s the mindset he took into the huddle in his first game as a Tennessee Volunteer.
Jerry Colquitt, UT’s starter, was injured, forcing Manning to take over as a freshman playing at UCLA on national television.
Manning said he immediately thought of what his father, Archie, told him: “Son, if you ever get in the huddle, it’s your job to be the leader and take control.”
With his team already down 21-0 in the first half, Manning came in and said he gave a motivational message to his team.
An offensive lineman interrupted.
“Hey freshman, shut the blank up and call a play,” Manning recalled being told.
Manning only played one series and the Vols lost that game, but as Manning’s insanely successful career indicates, he didn’t let that change his attitude.
In a 25-minute speech, Manning drew from past experiences on and off the field to craft a message with a simple central idea: “This is your time,” Manning said. “Own it.”
Manning emphasized taking control of life and cherishing every day. That’s what he called being a game changer.
He also talked at length about the importance of leadership, setting goals and valuing everyday experiences.
“I don’t see life as a straight line,” Manning said. “I see it more as the squiggly lines my 3-year-old twins draw on a piece of paper.
“Remember to enjoy the journey, not the desired destination once you get there.”