Cincinnati Bengals Coach Zac Taylor Opens Up About Being a Huge Peyton Manning Fan

by Kayla Zadel
(Photo by: 2019 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Zac Taylor is a Peyton Manning fan. Manning is kind of hard not to like. Plus Taylor has been following him since Manning’s college playing days.

Of course, NFL football coaches are fans of the game and have favorite players. Most of them reflect on players of the past, like Cincinnati Bengals Coach Zac Taylor is doing.

In this NFL Films, Taylor says that he’s a Manning fan and it all started at the University of Tennessee. “I was a big Tennessee fan when Peyton was there,” Taylor says. “So when he got drafted by the Colts, I became a Colts fan.”

“[He] just always played so smart, threw a catchable ball, always got the ball out on time,” he continues as footage of Manning playing in Indianapolis rolls in the foreground.

“As a young quarterback, you try and be just like Peyton Manning,” Taylor states.

Taylor knows a thing or two about playing the quarterback position. He was a quarterback himself before he turned to coaching.

Zac Taylor and Football

Taylor grew up in Norman, Oklahoma, and played high school football at Norman High School. The natural progression would have been for him to join the Oklahoma Sooners. However, the university passed him up. Taylor didn’t stop persevering with his dream of playing football and was later recruited by Wake Forest.

He redshirted his first year and then filled in as backup quarterback his next. It wasn’t until he got to Butler Community College in Kansas that his true athletic ability at the offense position began to show. Taylor passed for close to 3,000 yards with 29 touchdowns. He then led Butler to the NJAA championship game.

Taylor then joined Nebraska during their rebuilding year in 2005. He struggled during his first couple of games with Big Red. However, he found his groove and started setting school records.

Getting to the NFL

Taylor went undrafted in 2007. Once again, he was on the outside looking in. However, Taylor didn’t let that stop him from playing the game he loved so much. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but was cut in pre-season. He then set his sights on the Canadian Football League and joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Taylor didn’t play in Winnipeg but instead started looking at coaching. It was then that he made it to the NFL. The 37-year-old started coaching with the Miami Dolphins but then took a step away from the league to coach college football at the University of Cincinnati.

He then got a look from the LA Rams and was even promoted to quarterbacks coach. But it’s the Cincinnati Bengals where Taylor is currently coaching. Taylor was hired in February 2019 to join the Bengals as head coach.