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Ranking the Best Mic’d Up Moments in NFL History

What are the most memorable Mic'd Up moments in NFL history? PFN ranks the best in-game audio, from Peyton Manning to Cam Newton to Matthew Stafford.

Thanks to NFL Films and its ingenious placement of microphones, fans have been treated to hours of in-game audio, allowing unprecedented access to what players and coaches are saying in the heat of the moment.

What are the best “NFL Mic’d Up” moments in NFL history? Pro Football Network is counting down the list.

Top Mic’d Up Moments in NFL History

7) “I’m Not the Mike!”

If you’ve watched enough NFL games, you’ve probably noticed quarterbacks pausing pre-snap to point and identify the opposing middle — or “Mike” — linebacker. By highlighting the center of his opponent’s defense, the quarterback can help his offensive line determine which defenders to block.

A decade ago, in an Oct. 2014 game, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo pinpointed Jameel McClain as the New York Giants’ middle linebacker — but McClain had something to say about that.

“No, I’m not the Mike!” McClain yelled at Romo. “I’m not the Mike!”

Was McClain telling the truth? Or was he trying to bait Romo? Either way, we’re glad the NFL’s microphones were there to pick up the banter.

6) Robby Anderson Meets the Panthers’ Mascot

You can forgive Robby Anderson (now known as Robbie Chosen) for being unfamiliar with the Carolina Panthers’ mascot in Week 1 of the 2020 campaign. The veteran wideout had just signed a two-year deal with the NFC South franchise that offseason, so he was still learning the ins and outs of his newest team.

“What’s that bear doing?” Anderson asked teammate DJ Moore during his Panthers debut.

“That bear” was Sir Purr, Carolina’s longtime mascot, who is, in fact, a panther.

Informed of Sir Purr’s moniker and true identity, Anderson remained incredulous.

“Wow. You call him that?” Anderson asked Moore, clearly unaware that Purr leads the league with 451 hugs per appearance, per the Panthers’ official site. ” … So, you be like, ‘What’s up, Sir Purr?'”

5) Cam Newton Watches Film Too

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews thought he had Cam Newton and the Panthers figured out during Week 15 of the 2017 season.

After watching Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey use an arm signal, Matthews told the rest of the Packers’ defense to look for CMC to run a “wheel” route up the right sideline. But Matthews had incorrectly identified McCaffrey’s motion — and Newton knew it.

“You’ve been watching film too, huh?” Newton asked across the line of scrimmage. “That’s cool. Watch this.”

McCaffrey’s signal had instead been for an angle route over the middle of the field. Matthews had guessed wrong, and Green Bay was leveraged toward the sideline, leaving CMC wide open for an easy seven-yard touchdown catch.

4) Peyton Manning vs. Jeff Saturday

A quarterback-center relationship is a special bond. However, in-game emotions can run high when the two players in question are headstrong athletes like Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning and six-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday.

After Saturday expressed his displeasure that the Indianapolis Colts had called three consecutive passing plays near the goal line, Manning got in his face.

“Hey! Quit calling the f—— plays!” Manning yelled. ” … When we call pass plays, block!”

Once offensive tackle Tarik Glenn told Manning to “go sit down,” the veteran quarterback seemed to grasp the humor in the situation immediately.

“I’m Mic’d Up,” Manning said. “It was better than ‘Desperate Housewives.'”

3) Bill Belichick Has Choice Words for Derrick Mason

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had had just about enough of Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason.

Mason had dominated the start of a 2009 Week 4 matchup, catching six passes for 77 yards and a touchdown on Baltimore’s opening drive. But he posted just one more catch over the rest of the game, while New England held a 10-point halftime lead and eventually won by six.

After Mason talked sideline trash to Patriots DC Dean Pees (a former Ravens coach), Belichick (jokingly) let him have it.

“Aw, f— you, Mason. Just f— you, will ya?” Belichick said. “Why don’t we talk after the game, alright? Just shut the f— up. Can you look at the scoreboard?”

2) Peyton Manning vs. Donald Brown

Manning’s verbal battle with Saturday in 2005 wasn’t the Hall of Famer’s only memorable Mic’d Up moment.

Four years later, Manning turned Colts running back Donald Brown into a meme with an infamous hot mic episode against the Ravens in the 2009-10 AFC Divisional Round.

Brown, Indy’s first-round pick in that year’s draft, was supposed to slide left and help Colts left tackle Charlie Johnson block an incoming pass rusher. Instead, Brown went across the shotgun formation to Manning’s right, exposing the veteran quarterback.

“G–d—–, Donald!” Manning yelled as he ran right before sliding on what went down as a sack in the record books.

While Brown never panned out as an NFL running back, he was, ironically, a solid pass blocker throughout his pro tenure.

1) Matthew Stafford’s 2009 Heroics

The most dramatic “NFL Mic’d Up” moment was also the longest unedited clip in NFL Films history: four minutes and 17 seconds of Detroit Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford battling through a separated shoulder to take down the Cleveland Browns in 2009.

The Lions and Browns entered Week 11 with identical 1-8 records, so the game didn’t mean much in the standings. However, NFL Films creator Steve Sabol said Stafford’s gutsy performance was the greatest exhibit the series had ever produced.

Trailing 37-31 with eight seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Stafford took a hard shot as his end-zone target to Calvin Johnson fell incomplete. A pass interference call against the Browns gave the Lions another shot, but Stafford was on the ground writhing in pain, having separated his right shoulder.

Stafford made his way to the sideline and would’ve had to sit out at least one play had Cleveland not called its final timeout. The rookie signal-caller immediately realized he could return.

“Hey, that’s a timeout. I can play, right?” Stafford asked. “Give me, get me, get the f—, help me up … I can throw the ball if you need me to throw the ball.”

Stafford miraculously returned to the field, promptly hitting TE Brandon Pettigrew for a one-yard, game-tying TD. Jason Hanson’s extra point gave Detroit a 38-37 victory, finalizing the best clip in “NFL Mic’d Up” history.