Peyton Manning and his advice to Bo Nix: ‘Experience is your best teacher’

May 22, 2024, 7:19 PM | Updated: May 23, 2024, 1:34 pm

DENVER — Peyton Manning learned how to be an NFL quarterback by being pushed into action immediately. Twenty-six years, two Super Bowl rings and a gold jacket later, the lessons of that season — and being tossed into the Indianapolis Colts’ starting lineup immediately — remain seared in his mind.

So, when asked what piece of advice he’d want to give to Broncos rookie quarterback Bo Nix, his mind immediately went back to the lessons learned from his long-ago pro baptism by fire.

“I think experience is still your best teacher,” Manning said Wednesday just before he was honored by the Mizel Institute as the winner of the 2024 Community Enrichment Award

“I think any quarterback would tell you — being out there on the field, you just learn more things than you do sitting on the sideline,” Manning added a moment later. “Any quarterback will tell you that.

“So when that happens, you know, for Bo, these quarterbacks, obviously, you know, Sean will make that decision.

“But I do think experience is your best teacher. It’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint, right?”

Nix won’t be handed the Broncos’ starting job. But that being said …

“I can tell how excited Sean [Payton] is to have Bo here,” Manning said.

So is Manning himself. After all, Nix was a part of the Manning Passing Academy.

“I remember just talking to Bo when he was thinking about transferring,” Manning said. “And so we’ve kind of stayed in touch, and I’m super happy for him to be here.”


He started his first game with the Indianapolis Colts to open his rookie season in 1998. He wouldn’t leave their starting lineup until neck injuries caught up to him 13 years and 227 games later.

Peyton Manning was the only quarterback to throw a pass for the Colts in 1998. They never benched him — even as the interceptions mounted.

Yet it must be said that his touchdown passes mounted, too. While his 28 interceptions remain an NFL rookie record, his 26 touchdown passes are the third-most for a rookie in NFL history.

And by year two, Manning arrived among the sport’s elite. The Colts went from 3-13 — “and (I) didn’t play very well,” as Manning admitted — to 13-3 and an AFC East title, the Colts’ first in a dozen years.

“There’s no way that would have happened had I not played and kind of gone through those struggles and throwing those interceptions and figured out, ‘Hey, okay, I can’t do that anymore. Hey, these guys are faster,'” Manning said.

His younger brother Eli Manning was also a No. 1 overall pick six years later. But the New York Giants waited to put him into the lineup, opening the 2004 season with Kurt Warner as their starter.

Eli Manning made his first pro start in the Giants’ 10th game of the season.

“He said what he learned in the [seven] that he played was night and day compared to the [nine] that he sat,” Peyton Manning said. “So, we’ll see how it all shakes out.”


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Peyton Manning and his advice to Bo Nix: ‘Experience is your best teacher’