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Peyton Manning:

The NFL's

Anna Kournikova?

8/14/2006 4:17 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Even if you don't care a lick about football, that face to the left there is probably pretty familiar to you. That's because Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts' quarterback, has been everywhere, starring in TV spots for no less than five different companies, including popular spots for Gatorade, DirecTV, and MasterCard.

And starting this fall, Manning's going to be even more exposed, featuring prominently in high-profile ad campaigns for Reebok and Sony, the latter alongside golf prodigy Michelle Wie. In 2005, Manning landed $10.5 million in endorsements according to Sports Illustrated, amongst the highest of any athlete. And his agent's recent defection to powerhouse Creative Artists Agency suggests that more showbiz is in the offing for the NFL's golden boy.

But, like tennis' Anna Kournikova before him, Manning's a superstar pitchman who hasn't actually won anything on the field, from high school to college to the pros. To be fair, Manning, at 30, already holds several NFL passing records, and he nearly led his team to an undefeated season last year, a level of success Kournikova never came close to achieving.

And yet, how is it that Peyton, without Tiger Woods' titles or Anna K's, er, talents, has become the face of just about everything?

Chalk it up to something utterly basic: likeability. "He's the nicest guy in the world and everybody loves him," said Terry Lefton, editor-at-large of Sports Business Daily & Journal, recently. Even though Manning has yet to shake the reputation that he can't win the big game, leading sports marketing consultants explain that he's already too credible and trusted to lose his Madison Avenue luster.

Reebok, for instance, is putting what it has called "a very significant investment" into the new TV campaign called "When Did I Know," debuting in September during the NFL's opening weekend, and starring Manning. And the company certainly doesn't lack confidence that Manning can sell their shoes and equipment."Peyton is as important to us as any asset we have at Reebok," said Eddie White, vice president of team properties, in the Indianapolis Star. "It's safe to say he'll be with Reebok as long as he plays football." For more sports stories, check out tmzsports.com!

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Alex Rogers    

But have you got any rings on your fingers Peyton ?

2990 days ago


I love Peyton Manning. We actually named our oldest boy, Peyton, after him! I think he's great in the commercials and a really likable guy. To compare him with AK is disgraceful. Peyton is far more talented and just because he hasn't won a Super Bowl doesn't make him any less a champion. AK was simply a so-so tennis player that was hot.

2990 days ago

Alex Rogers    

Actually - Not winning a superbowl does make you less a champion

2990 days ago


Please.... Peyton is just another good-looking media whore. The media make s them out to be much more than they really are.

It's a little like the Lebron James syndrome.... so much hype and he hasn't done sh*t yet.

Talk to me again when they have rings to prove their worth anything more than a shoe contract.

2990 days ago

Jeff Davidson    

TERRIBLE, ridiculous comparison. Not. Even. Close.

2990 days ago

Team Minnillo    

I care about football and this story backs up everything i've been saying for a while...Manning is a great quarterback, much on the same level as Hasslebeck from the Seahawks, who is under-rated, but Peyton is no Tom Brady, hello! GO PATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2990 days ago


Actually, Peyton won an SEC Championship while @ the Univeristy of Tennessee.

So he has won a championship

2990 days ago

Nancy Williams    

who in the #@*& is Tom Brady. I have been a pro fan for 40 years and think Peyton is the greatest.

2990 days ago

Lame Story    

Peyton has never won anything that mattered. Peyton never even beat the Gators. The year after he *left* UTenn was the year the Vols had their perfect season and won the National Championship.
I think it's hilarious now he's promoting Gatorade- a drink invented by and for his former arch rival, the University of Florida. The rival he never beat.
No hard feelings tho and thanks for promoting us Peyton. We'll gladly take our royalties from PepsiCo should people actually go out and buy more Gatorade because of you.

2990 days ago

Easily Bored    

Um. Hello. Anna chose to be part of a sport where you count on yourself to win. Peyton wins when the whole team plays well. Peyton has proven he can play football. And well. Because he's on a team that doesn't back him up is no reflection on him.

He's a good guy. No scandal. Good football family. I hope the money keeps pouring in.

2990 days ago


Um, this is the guy who acknowledged that he & his father sexually harrassed a woman & settled out of court with her. (They even harrassed her later.) It's been covered up well because he's a star player & the NFL has a lot riding on him, but he does have his skeletons.

2990 days ago


I think this is an unfair comparrision. Peyton only has one chance per year to win a championship where as in tennis you have at least one shot per month. Plus, at least Peyton isn't quiting on his sport to shoot these ads.

2990 days ago

Alex Rogers    

Nice guy sure - champion NO. Is it his teams fault - Grow up/learn about football.

Tom Brady should get all those contracts. Nice guy also, better player.

So why all the contracts to Peyton. The NFL has been grooming Peyton to be a savior/champion/marketing machine for years. Too much already invested to change gears now. Plus Archie Manning threatened to boycott the NFL and move the players to the CFL if King Peyton didnt get this treatment. The Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Calgary Stampeders were offering contracts of $250,000 "per year"

2990 days ago

Easily Bored    

Tell me to learn about football a**hole. I know about football. ONE person doesn't win the season. Jackass.

2990 days ago

Alex Rogers    

Im good at football. We had a good rb. good wr's. but never could win the big one, or many outside the dome. Whats that saying...about the buck stopping somewhere, accountability, leadership...oh yea the QB, the general..cant blame him though. Not if his names golden boy.

Glad he will have those bills to wipe his tears cause he he will never have a ring.

2990 days ago
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