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O’Boyle: Manning better as a backup

| Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Five-for-20. 35 yards. No touchdowns. Four interceptions.

Peyton Manning will forever be associated with those stats. The stats from Sunday’s game, in which he broke Brett Favre’s all-time passing yardage record and was subsequently pulled in the 3rd quarter. The stats from what might be his last game. Even those stats are generous to the 5-time MVP. The under-thrown deep balls are one thing; those can be blamed on injuries. After all, it was a miracle Manning came back so well from those neck surgeries to begin with. But some of Manning’s decisions seemed completely inexplicable for the greatest mind in the game.

In January, when I started writing this column, I said it was time for the Broncos to move on from Manning. Now, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking otherwise. Brock Osweiler is set to take the reins at least for this week against Chicago, but it wouldn’t be surprising if we see the 6-foot-8 monster, who looks more suited to Gary Kubiak’s offense, for a few more games beyond that.

But Manning is still on the Broncos roster and still earning $15 million. So what can he do while Osweiler takes the reins of the offense?

Well, the answer is obvious, isn’t it? Did you see Drew Stanton on the sidelines against Seattle? His dance moves, which bore a certain amount of resemblance to Holly Holm’s moves to defeat Ronda Rousey on Saturday night, were surely some of the highlights of this season. And competing in the AFC against formidable Patriots and Bengals teams, Denver could benefit from having a legendary figure like Manning on its sideline.

I’m not talking about Manning’s legendary career as a quarterback here, though I guess that might come in handy at some point. But it’s Manning’s advertising career that should really come in handy as a backup.

If Stanton’s moves can inspire Andre Ellington into the end zone for Cardinals, what kind of impact can Manning’s iconic seven-syllable Nationwide jingles have? With that power to remain stuck in your head for weeks or months, Manning’s tunes could keep Osweiler motivated for the remainder of the season and even into a deep postseason run.

“Good job Brock, I’m proud of you.”

It’s memorable, it keeps Osweiler focused, it sells insurance. It’s just what an experienced head like Peyton Manning (and as far as experienced heads go, there are none bigger than Peyton’s) should do. In today’s NFL, where small margins could be the difference between winning and losing, Manning’s classic jingle could prove the difference.

If that doesn’t work, there’s always Manning’s most iconic brand of all: Papa John’s Pizza. Peyton is pretty much a father figure to young players on the Broncos roster. So why shouldn’t he play the twin roles of advertising symbol and father by providing a pizza party to Osweiler and company after victories to celebrate, courtesy of Papa John’s? That kind of publicity could make him millions and boost team morale. After all, after taking more and more from college and even high school offenses, it’s about time NFL teams looked to pee-wee football for inspiration.

Peyton is a legend on the field, but he’s a legend of the commercial break too, and if he wants to contribute to a new Brock Osweiler-led Denver Broncos team, he needs to play to his strengths. If he can’t perform with his arm, he’s got to do it in the marketing game, where he’s still number one (as much as Luke McCown has been challenging him this season). Think of how much he can still do in selling insurance, pizza and maybe even jeans if he wants to break another of Brett Favre’s records.

And if Osweiler doesn’t work out at quarterback, maybe Kubiak could try starting “Really High Voice” Peyton Manning instead.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Contact Daniel