Jets head coach Adam Gase and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning both have a mutual respect for each other, but the two went at each other's throats to get there.
Gase, in a Q&A with Gary Myers of The Athletic, opened up about his relationship with Manning from his time as offensive coordinator in Denver and how the quarterback helped make his career.
"It was the perfect storm for me personally," Gase said. "He challenged me. There were times when I wanted to kill him. I'm sure it was the other way around, too. We were competitive."
Manning revived his career under Gase in Denver following neck surgery, throwing a career-high 55 touchdowns in 2014 as a 37-year-old. Jets fans hope Gase can work some of that magic on Sam Darnold, but getting there with Manning was a process.
"You are jockeying trying to be on the same page. There were times I would get pissed off. He wanted to probably beat my ass," Gase added. "We wanted to win so bad. We wanted perfection so bad. We wanted to play the perfect game. And you know it's impossible."
Gase added that Manning would send him voice memos late at night dissecting the playbook, some of which he has played for Darnold, whom Gase is encouraging to have an open line of communication.
"He knows," Gase said. "I've played the tapes for him. ... I said, 'Don't get any ideas.' I tell him if you don't like something, tell me. If you want to add something, tell me."
Gase's success in New York will mostly be dependent on how he can develop Darnold. While Peyton Manning is a near impossible standard to meet, Gase has nonetheless been impressed by the 22-year-old quarterback's ability to apply what he's learning.
"I've been impressed the way that Sam has gone about understanding, 'I'm a young quarterback who is trying to learn.' He's doing a great job asking questions. But then he does a great job applying what we talked about on the field. He does a great job of listening. He may make a mistake, but he doesn't make that mistake again. ... I've just been impressed by his maturity and his desire to want to improve."
Gase stopped short of declaring Darnold the "next big thing," though.
"We'll see. We haven't played a game together," Gase said. "I haven't called a real game with him yet. So I'm hoping that I can do everything in my power to help him be what he wants to be."