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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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It really bothers me win people compare athletes that have not won the Big One (yet) to Anna Kournikova. This comparison is embarrassing.

Kournikova was a mediocre tennis player who skated by on her good looks. She used her looks, not her tennis skills to get any endorsements she could. The second she got the chance, she got out of that sport, so she could go skank around with Enrique Iglesias. And the thing is, Kournikova may have had a chance to win a few titles, but she let things like money, modeling, dating, and publicity consume her time.

Peyton has never gotten caught up in the publicity vacuum. Yes, he has done many commercials. But, unlike the "great" Tom Brady who goes around clubbing, hanging with supermodels, and drinking and dining with corporate bigwigs, Peyton is a guy from the South that married his high school sweetheart. He spends his weekends visiting hospitals and living an otherwise relatively boring life. That is just one reason he is different from Kournikova.

Peyton has been completely committed to the team and its success. His teammates would follow him to the depths of Hades and back, because that is how good of a leader he is. He has never really gotten in any trouble that would derail the Colts' efforts and detract from the functioning of the team. No DUI's, no assaults, no skipping practices. The most controversial thing he has ever done was moon somebody in college.

I really am glad that the article pointed out that he really is a genuinely good guy. They also pointed out that Peyton has the talent that Kournikova never had in their respective sports. He is one of the, if not, the greatest quarterbacks of my generation. He is certainly one of the best pocket quarterbacks of all time. Many have said that if Peyton can get some rings, he is really the closest threat Joe Montana has, to being the greatest quarterback to ever play. I am a huge Notre Dame fan, and I love Joe Montana. But I have to agree that if Peyton can win some championships, he could be even better than Montana. And that is saying a lot.

I mean, this guy can see a 4 inch by 4 inch opening out of the corner of his eye and hit it with perfect precision every time. Anna Kournikova could not even hit a 39 foot by 27 foot box to keep the ball in play. Peyton Manning like Anna Kournikova......laughable.

2993 days ago

Alex Rogers    

Settle down bored guy. Its only football !

2993 days ago


ok.. peyton doesnt have a ring.. nor a heisman... nor did he come from a great college. ( I am a die hard State fan).... but what he does have is talent and the likability factor... Most media outlets want to use people to promote their products that the public can relate to. Being from the south, the Manning name can start a conversation wherever you go.. Thats what these people want. They want you to go to the store and say hey I saw Peyton drinking a Gatorade and I want one... or did you know Peyton has Direct Tv.... I want Direct Tv...

Do you really think the people that promote these products really care what you have or have not accomplished? NO.. they only care about how much buzz is going on around you at that moment so they can tap into you.. With the season about to kick off, they are banking on the hype being on wether Peyton can finally pull off a championship WITH his team or wether Eli ( his brother) will do good.. or how he will do without his WR.. or how much he gets paid...They are banking on all of these things to sell their products..

2993 days ago


Wow...did Peyton steal your best girl or something? A lot of really personal insults to Peyton. I don't care what any of you say....Peyton is one of the greats and is one of the very few people I would consider a good role model. Nice guy, nice family....and this coming from a die hard Bears fan! Peyton rules!!!!!!!!

2993 days ago

U Know Who    

Hey It's a fact -

One man does not make the team, if you KNEW football so well you'd be aware of this FACT. His numbers don't lie, Dan Marino Syndrome...next your gonna tell me Marino was crap?

Or say for instance Jerry Rice had been drafted by Cleveland with Vinny Testaverde? Would we even remember Jerry Rices name? HELL NO we wouldn't cause Jerry couldn't have made a difference alone, even with Vinny. Your only ever as good as your teammates. Without Joe Montana and Steve Young along with the stellar Offensive line Amazing defenses, Jerry Rice woulda just been any other crappy receiver. Raw talent only gets you so far in a team sport.


U Know who

2993 days ago

Alex Rogers    

One man can so make a team. I hope.

2993 days ago

Alex Rogers    

There are so many good quarterbacks. Peyton is on track to make the hall of fame because of his numbers.

But if the careers of both Peyton and Tom stopped playing today (because of a bass fishing accident and falling off a victory float for example) - only Tom would make the Hall. - today.

2993 days ago


I wouldn't compare him to Anna she's really pretty. Peyton Manning is a mutt.

2993 days ago

Alex Rogers    

Peyton Manning will win superbowl(s)

-As a coach

2993 days ago


I love watching Peyton & think he's one of the greatest. Unfortunately, his career will be defined by whether he wins a Superbowl or not.

2993 days ago


I don't think a lot of you know what football actually is--a TEAM sport. Yes Peyton is extremely talented, but one person can not win or lose the Super Bowl. It takes the entire team. Unfortunately, the hype will never die down until the Colts win a Super Bowl, and it WILL happen. Once the Colts get a decent defense there will be no stopping them.

You also do not see Peyton's name tied to scandal. He's a super nice guy with no ego to speak of. He lives and breathes football year-round. He is always working to better himself and help those around him improve. Do you see Terrell Owens doing this? Because Peyton is such a nice guy and scandal-free people love him, and that's why he has so many endorsements.

2993 days ago

Alex Rogers    

Its true ! Peyton is always trying to better himself.

This summer he took up reading.

2993 days ago


Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are both media pretty boy @ssholes! So who cares? Why would you expect anything less?

2993 days ago


Peyton Manning is the rebirth of Dan Marino. They don't pass out Super Bowl rings for commercials. Keep "cutting that meat", while real quarterbacks get there fingers fitted for rings.

2993 days ago


Everyone keeps saying its all about team, but nobody's mentioning the fact that the Colts had the most talent of any team; they almost finished the season undefeated! I guess Marvin Harrison and the Edge are just average players? Peyton loses the big games because he cannot take any pressure, both literally and figuratively. All it takes is a solid pass rush to beat Peyton, that's it. He's like a statue in the pocket, and when he gets hit or hurried, he simply unravels. Brady side-steps the pass rush and calmly hits his targets. That's why Peyton will never be one of the greats, he has a HUGE weakness against good pass rushes. EXACTLY LIKE MARINO!!!!

2993 days ago
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