Peyton Manning Says the Halftime Adjustment is “the Biggest Myth in Football”

from ESPN/Monday Night Football

We did a story a few months ago titled When Talking About the Eagles, the Words “Exposed” and “Adjustments” are Now Officially Banned.” The premise, at least for the second part, was that no one ever suggests what specific “adjustments” a team should actually make, which results in a vapid cliche with no meaning.

It was just an opinion piece at the time, but we’ll have to go back and add this quote from Monday night’s Manning Cast to flesh out the story:

Now Peyton was a player, so we have to separate the idea of a player adjusting vs. a coach adjusting. Of course the latter is tinkering with what works and doesn’t work and trying to read and react to the opponent. Players go into the locker room, use the bathroom, and receive instructions ahead of two more quarters of football.

But specifically, the idea of “halftime adjustments” is largely archaic, because “adjustment” is a fluid concept that’s being exercised throughout the game. 30 years ago, they didn’t have tablets on the sidelines or immediate access to all-22 film, so the thought was that you’d regroup in the locker room and figure it out from there. In 2023, you can make adjustments from series to series, quarter to quarter, and play to play. There are 17 coaches sitting in a booth and feeding information down to the field, or doing individual coaching between series. The idea that halftime is blocked off specifically for “adjustments” just isn’t true.

From Peyton’s perspective, he’s doing all of his “adjusting” on the fly. If the play call is a deep shot and he sees Cover 2 with a light box, he’s calling an audible and handing it to Edgerrin James. If he sees a favorable matchup on the outside, he’s throwing instead. The best football minds are constantly working, not waiting for some 15-minute period to talk over what happened in the prior two quarters.