DENVER - Many people know the scene from "Bull Durham." The Durham Bulls turn on the sprinklers to flood the field and Kevin Costner and his teammates take turns sliding into home plate in hopes of creating a rain-out.
But when Peyton Manning took the field in the midst of a rain delay and belly flopped into the north end zone of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, he was doing so in an effort to make the game happen.
"In 'Bull Durham' when Kevin Costner went out and slid at home plate, he was trying to get the game canceled," Manning said. "We were just trying to do something during that time. I think that made coach (John) Fox put the scrimmage on."
Shortly before 7 p.m. Saturday, a severe lightning storm in the area caused the Broncos to push back the start of the Summer Scrimmage. Fans booed the announcement as the rain fell in hard sheets and lightning flickered. Twenty minutes after the initial announcement, a small group of Broncos ran on the field, rallying the dwindling crowd.
"A couple guys were like, we need to go out there," linebacker Wesley Woodyard said. "It was a good idea and coach Fox said, it's all right, go out there." After romping on the rain-soaked field, the group retreated back through the tunnel. But a few minutes later they returned with more teammates, all sprinting and belly-flopping to the grass.
And just like that, Broncos turf that's witnessed John Elway touchdowns (at Mile High) and Von Miller tackles was suddenly transformed into a 100-yard slip 'n' slide.
Manning and fellow quarterback Brock Osweiler joined in the fun, racing and sliding to the far end zone. Manning capped off the run with a dive across the goal line.
"I got pretty good range, 5-yard slides," Manning said. "I felt like a kid. I don't remember the last time I got a chance to do that on a professional venue like that."