Story behind the cover. The receivers prank the prankster.
Here Manning trails off, leaving the last part to our imaginations. You can see how Manning’s receivers might appreciate playing with such an exacting man. You can also see how it might be enjoyable to give him a little grief, especially because he considers himself to be prank-immune. Which is why, on the morning of the photo shoot for the cover of this magazine, Decker and Welker pulled aside the photographer and the Broncos’ head of media relations, Patrick Smyth, and told them their plan. Then, when Manning arrived for the shoot, the receivers told him to get changed. Manning didn’t understand. “Didn’t you hear?” Decker said. “We’re doing it shirtless.” The quarterback became quite flustered, according to Welker: “He was hedging, like, Maybe a few years ago, but not now. And then he was asking Patrick Smyth about it, and I’m thinking, C’mon, don’t back out on me now!” Welker laughs. “Finally [Manning] said, ‘No way, I’m just not going to do it. You guys take the photo without me.’ It was hilarious.” Asked about it, Manning goes into deadpan denial mode. “I don’t know about that,” he says. “You got any more questions about Wes?”