Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the league's most valuable player and is getting ready to play in the biggest game of his career Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII.
He still found time, however, to send new Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell some praise when asked Tuesday about their time together as player and quarterback coach in Indianapolis.
"Jim Caldwell has meant a great deal to me in my career," Manning said. "I felt like, once he got to Indianapolis, and became my quarterbacks coach, that my game really improved. It took a step up, and I thought Jim had a great deal to do with that."
From 2003-08, Caldwell worked with Manning as the team’s quarterbacks coach and then head coach from 2009-11.
Manning won four NFL MVP awards (2003, 2004, 2008, 2009) over than span and the Colts won a Super Bowl and played in another. All of Manning's passing numbers increased dramatically over the first three seasons working with Caldwell.
"He and I had a set routine that we tried to perform every day in the meeting room on the practice field in different drills," Manning said.
Manning even made an unsolicited call to Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew when Caldwell became a candidate for its head coaching vacancy. He wanted to tell Mayhew how important Caldwell was in his development as a quarterback and what he thought he could do for
"I was glad to call the Lions on his behalf, share that with him, and share my thoughts about what he would be able to do for their organization," Manning said. "I was really happy for him that he got that job."