Peyton Manning will be remembered mostly for leaving the NFL as the all-time passing leader, but one play that has stayed with me more than any other was a touchdown he scored in Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Bills back in 2001.
The Colts were lined up for a third-and-1 play at the Buffalo 33 and called a running play. Manning decided on his own to pull the ball away from Dominic Rhodes, effectively faking out the Colts and the Bills on the play before running around left end for the longest touchdown run of his career.
“That,” he said after the game, “is an old Archie Manning Special right there.”
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Manning, a master of deception, appeared to take some shine from his postgame celebration when he twice made a point to say he was going to spend some time drinking beer, specifically Budweiser, after the game.
He made two references to Budweiser in separate interviews, which led many to believe he was fulfilling endorsement obligations after he appeared to end a terrific career in storybook fashion. In fact, according to a Budweiser spokeswoman, the company had no agreement with Manning.
Said Lisa Weser, the head of marketing communications for Anheuser-Busch, via Twitter: “Hi Internet. For the record, Budweiser did not pay Peyton Manning to mention Budweiser tonight. We were surprised and delighted that he did.”
Manning is astute enough to know dropping the name amounted to free advertising and future endorsements with the company. Yahoo! reported that he has a stake in two Anheuser-Busch distributors in Louisiana. ESPN reported that Budweiser sent 50 cases to the postgame party.
Maybe he was looking for free beer. If that’s all it takes, allow me: Budweiser, Budweiser, Budweiser, Budweiser.
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Dan Fouts had an awkward exchange with Boomer Esiason during the radio broadcast while attempting to make a joke about his memory. I was listening on my way home from St. Bonaventure’s win over Saint Louis in Olean.
“CTE is tough,” Fouts said with a laugh before catching himself, “but it’s not a laughing matter.”
We’ve all said things we regret, but it in was poor taste. Fouts should know better. You can bet former players who experienced problems from head trauma are none too amused about the disturbing number cases in which players died prematurely after suffering from CTE.
Fouts wouldn’t dare joke about cancer or another life-threatening disease.
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One aspect overlooked about the Broncos’ defensive performance in the Super Bowl was the impact Rob Gronkowski had on the game. Denver had an advantage because it played against New England in the AFC Championship Game, which forced them to address a top tight end.
The Broncos had an easier time shutting down Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, who had four catches for 41 yards on nine targets. Gronk had eight catches for 144 yards and a touchdown in defeat. Denver had a week to prepare for Gronkowski and two weeks to prepare for Olsen.
Once the Broncos were comfortable with covering Olsen, they built a game plan that would help them contain Newton. It worked.
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Norwood has taken a grossly unfair amount of blame for the Bills losing Super Bowl XXV – to repeat, it wasn’t his fault – but I couldn’t have been the only one who thought the Panthers were doomed when Graham Gano missed a 44-yarder that sailed off the right upright.