Tiger Woods made a point, before Seattle demolished Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, of saying he hoped Manning would play well and win so his critics would be silenced.
Forget for a second that the great untold story of that game was that the Broncos offensive line still hasn’t blocked one Seahawk. Manning never had a chance.
But prior to the game, I didn’t hear many Manning critics. So let’s take a peek inside of the reason why Tiger made up a story about them.
It’s because Tiger doesn’t like his critics.
Forget the fact that during the course of a career that clearly has established him as the best player in the history of the world Tiger has been praised more than panned by a ratio of, oh, say, 10 million to one.
Tiger has rabbit ears.
Fast forward to Manning’s comportment after the Sunday loss. He didn’t make excuses. He didn’t dodge the media. He fully credited the winning Seahawks. And he managed to do it all with good grace, responding to even the dumbest and/or harshest questions with an even-handedness that was straightforward, tolerant and decidedly not autopilot-cliché.
Tiger will turn 40 the Christmas after next. So it’s probably too late to expect him to take a page from Peyton Manning’s book on all of this. Or any of this.
One thing is certain: Nobody inside Woods’ enabling inner circle will clue him in. That’s because, with the exception of Sean Foley, who sticks mostly to the golf swing, they are more blind to Woods’ public relations Achilles’ heel than Woods is.
Forget what happened in New Jersey on Sunday night. Peyton Manning will be remembered as a winner on and off the field.
And unless there is an unexpected shift in the tectonic plates of Woods’ psyche, sadly, he will only be remembered as a winner on the course.