Manning may not have played a huge role in last night’s Denver Broncos Super Bowl victory—“competent” seems a hair too far as a descriptor—but the postgame celebration was all about Peyton. After the trophy was presented to the Broncos’ ownership and Von Miller was awarded the MVP, the cameras turned to Manning.
This was a fitting and not particularly surprising decision: Peyton Manning, one of the NFL’s greatest ever quarterbacks, may have just played his last professional game. (Given that he can’t feel his hands, one would hope that it is.) But while the NFL undoubtedly hoped that the closing moments of last night’s game and telecast would be devoted to Manning’s on-the-field accomplishments, Manning had other ideas. Sure, he talked about football and family, but he also kissed Papa John (European-style for some reason?) and made not one but two references to binge-drinking some Budweiser.
Budweiser claims it didn’t pay Manning for the product placement, which only makes it more egregious—though Manning reportedly has a stake in two Anheiser-Busch distributors.
Manning’s contribution to the game was inconsequential—Dilfer-esque even—but he was at the top of his game as a TV pitchman. That seemed fitting in a game that increasingly seems like an ad for itself, a piece of meta-commentary on a spectacle that’s meant to showcase what good corporate citizens the NFL and its partners are.
Peyton Manning kissed Papa John.