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Creator / Peyton Manning

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That guy's prettty good...if you like...6-5, 230-pound quarterbacks. Laser, rocket arm."
Peyton Manning, playing a Peyton Manning fan for a Sprint NFL Mobile commercial.
With Indy (left) and later Denver (right)

Peyton Williams Manning (born March 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana) was one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks of all time. He was in the league for 18 seasons (playing 17 in all), the first 14 of them with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2011, though he missed the entire 2011 season due to multiple neck surgeries. After that season, he was let go by the Colts and then signed with the Denver Broncos, playing there from 2012 to 2015. He is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and an elder brother of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning - two players who are/were quite successful in their own right.

Manning played college football for the University of Tennessee, leading the Volunteers to the 1997 SEC Championship in his senior season. However, No. 3 Tennessee lost to the No. 2 Nebraska Cornhuskers 42–17 in the Orange Bowl. Manning was chosen by the Indianapolis Colts with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. From 1998 to 2010, he led the Colts to eight (seven AFC South and one AFC East) division championships, two AFC championships, and one Super Bowl championship (Super Bowl XLI). His five NFL MVPs are a league record, he was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLI, has been named to 14 Pro Bowls, has thirteen 4,000-yard passing seasons, and is the Indianapolis Colts' all-time leader in passing yards (54,828) and touchdown passes (399). Sports Illustrated named him the NFL player of the decade for the 2000s.


In May 2011, he underwent neck surgery to alleviate neck pain and arm weakness he dealt with during the previous few seasons before signing a five-year, $90 million contract extension with the Colts in July 2011. Manning had hoped to play in the 2011 season, but in September 2011 he underwent a second, and much more serious surgery: a level-one cervical fusion procedure. Manning had never missed an NFL game in his career, but was forced to miss the entire 2011 season. He was released by the Colts on March 7, 2012, and after an almost two-week period where he visited with and worked out for several NFL teams, he signed with the Denver Broncos on March 20, 2012. On October 19, 2014, he broke Brett Favre's record for most career TDs when he threw his 509th touchdown pass, in a game against the San Francisco 49ers. He missed significant time during a 2015 season in which he began seriously showing the effects of age and injuries, but came back for the playoffs and eventually earned a second title in Super Bowl 50, becoming the oldest QB to start and win a Super Bowl, and also the first to win Super Bowls with more than one team. Manning deflected postgame questions about his playing future, but eventually retired on March 7, 2016.


Manning's pre-snap routine has earned him the nickname "The Sheriff", and he is one of the most recognizable and parodied players in the NFL. Teams led by Manning more often than not used the hurry-up offense in place of the standard huddle.

In addition to his play on the field, Manning was one of the most popular players off the field as well. He's one of the few athletes to host Saturday Night Live. He also has a ton of endorsements and commercials for a wide variety of products which can be seen year-round, not just during the NFL season. So many, in fact, that sports-commentary comic strip Tank McNamara did a week-long story of Manning being confined to a rehab clinic for his addiction to endorsements - where his need to endorse something became so great that he pleaded with the employees to let him endorse the clinic itself. He has made a guest appearance on The Simpsons and was on the final Late Show With David Letterman as one of the celebrity presenters of the show's final Top 10 List. Manning is said to be Letterman's favorite player for his time with Letterman's hometown Indianapolis Colts. His voice acting has continued with a significant supporting role in the animated film Ferdinand.

Tropes related to his works:

  • Adam Westing: Fond of this in his various media appearances and endorsements, either Flanderizing or subverting his Nice Guy persona.
  • Always Someone Better: Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but while his stats are better, his overall record, especially in the playoffs, is overshadowed by Tom Brady, who has won six of nine Super Bowls, while Manning has only won two of four. Even more so by Manning's Broncos being totally blown out by the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, and then the Patriots defeating the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Then after Manning won Super Bowl 50 in a relatively lackluster performance, the Patriots won Super Bowl LI in an incredible Miracle Rally against the Atlanta Falcons. Interestingly in their head-to-head records, Manning has the edge in the playoffs, winning 3 of their 5 meetings, though his overall record against them is much worse, only going 3-9 in regular season games against Brady and the Patriots.
    • Peyton himself is this trope to his brother Eli, who himself is regarded as a great quarterback among the likes of Drew Brees, his brother Peyton, and Ben Roethlisberger and Phillip Rivers (his draft classmates in the 2004 draft), due to leading an underdog New York Giants squad to upset victories over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots twice—one of them being the famous 18-1 game Super Bowl XLII—but gets shafted due to his comparatively ordinary regular season stats. In fact, before Super Bowl 50, Eli could always claim to having won two Super Bowls and Super Bowl MVPs, but with the Broncos' victory in Super Bowl 50, Eli and Peyton now have two Super Bowls...and Peyton holds the records.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: The football equivalent of Michael Jordan when it comes to endorsements; after he became an endorser for Papa John's Pizza in 2012, Manning would own several Papa John's restaurants in Colorado.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: His persona in commercials is best described as a Golden Retriever puppy trapped in human form: happy, excited, and enthusiastic to the point of annoyance.
  • Crossing the Burnt Bridge: Subverted. After Manning left the Colts to join the Denver Broncos, the two teams eventually met at a Colts home game. Rather than being booed, Manning was given a standing ovation by Colts fans, including showing a video package which ended with a graphic reading "THANKS PEYTON."
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Manning's Colts teams were mostly geared around providing good receivers for him to throw to, and blockers to keep the defense away from him. The Colts were high scorers, but tended to fizzle in the playoffs, proving the old adage of "Offense wins games, but defense wins championships". Even the Colts' Super Bowl championship in 2005 was at least partly a result of their defense stepping up at the right time (the Colts defense played unusually well in the wild-card and divisional rounds, as well as the Super Bowl, and the play that sealed the Colts victory against the Patriots in the conference championship was an interception of a Tom Brady pass with seconds to go). The Broncos were also more offense-oriented when he first arrived, but after their embarrassing 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, the team was reworked to be better on defense, and they won two years later against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
  • Every Year They Fizzle Out: The Trope Namer, after Peyton's SNL skit that lampshaded Manning's infamous tendency of this trope before his first Super Bowl win. While his regular season accomplishments are legendary, Manning has a mediocre playoff record (14-13, including nine one-and-dones, the most for a starting quarterback), mainly from the trope codifying in the first half of his career, while Tom Brady racked up titles in New England. His two Super Bowl wins have erased most of this stigma by this point.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Oddly enough, the Tennessee Volunteers won the national championship the year after he went pro, behind a far less heralded and less successful quarterback.note 
  • Vetinari Job Security: This happened to the Colts in 2011, as Manning's backups, Kerry Collins (who came out of retirement), Curtis Painter, and Dan Orlovsky, struggled to replicate Manning's offense, leading to jokes and discussions that Peyton was the 2011 NFL MVP without playing a game. (Ironically, the only quarterback of the three who won any games was Orlovsky...previously best known for being the quarterback of a Detroit Lions team that went winless for the whole season.)
    "Fellas, if #18 goes down, we're fucked. And we don't practice fucked." — Tom Moore, Colts offensive coordinator, on why Manning's backups don't receive snaps during practice
    • Subverted in the 2015 season, in which the defensive-oriented Broncos finished 5-2 while Manning sat out while recovering from his foot injury. The Broncos would go on to win Super Bowl 50, despite Manning's offense being awful that night (his offense gained the fewest yards for a Super Bowl champion).

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