If you’ve watched an NFL game over the last year, you know that Peyton Manning is all about Papa John’s pizza. Manning not only appears in a bunch of totally obnoxious commercials with Mr. John — he also owns 21 franchise locations in the Denver area. Needless to say, the record-setting quarterback has a stake in the success of the pizza chain.
So what are we to make of this video (via BI Sports) from yesterday’s Broncos-Eagles game, where it appears that “Papa John’s” has become an audible call for the Denver offense? The on-field mics picked up Manning’s chatter with the line, and included at least half a dozen mentions of the Papa John’s name. (Update: Another theory is that this was the Eagles defense calling an audible — either way, it’s weird):
It sounds like a comedy sketch. There’s definitely a commercial idea in there somewhere, where Papa John’s is like “Marklar” in South Park. The only words anybody knows are “Papa John’s.” Papa John’s. Papa John’s.
Maybe the call originally started as a joke, and is now a legitimate way for the Broncos to make a change at the line. Meanwhile, Domino’s executives must be furious.
Hopefully the NFL tells the Broncos to tone it down with the subliminal/totally blatant advertising for Manning’s pizza venture. Papa John’s is already one of the league’s biggest advertisers (see also: the really stupid “Put a topping on it!” series with Rich Eisen), and they don’t need any more free promos, no matter how unintentionally weird and hilarious they may be.