Peyton Manning moves to “Rocky Top” at Broncos training camp


Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws football during drills at the morning session of the team’s NFL football training camp in Englewood, Colo., on Friday, July 25, 2014. (AP Photo)

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning let his hips call the play at training camp on Monday, as his alma mater’s unofficial fight song, “Rocky Top,” played over the speakers.

Manning stepped out of his cerebral field-scientist mode to put on a wiggly show for his teammates that recalled his past dancing gigs on “Saturday Night Live.” Nice backfield in motion, wouldn’t you say?

Oh wait…no… not the arms! As Manning gets more deeply into the song’s nostalgia for carefree country days—reliving his championship season at University of Tennessee,  perhaps?–he starts flapping his elbows. A lot. What’s that lyric from “Rocky Top,” about feeling “trapped like a duck in a pen”? Manning, bless his hoppy little heart, gets way too literal.

In fact, the quarterback is outdanced by wide receiver Wes Welker, No. 83, who—true to his position– has better timing and better footwork. He’s inspired by Manning to join in the jig, and he’s so light on his feet that his boot-scooting seems to barely skim the turf. Hmm. Maybe there’s a “Dancing With the Stars” sparkle tux in his future.

Sarah Kaufman received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. She is the author of THE ART OF GRACE: On Moving Well Through Life, coming in Nov. 2015. She has been The Washington Post's dance critic since 1996, and after logging time in opera houses, black boxes, and dive bars, what moves her most is seeing grace happen where she least expects it.

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Sarah Larimer · July 30, 2014