4 Reasons Why Peyton Manning Is Going To Be The Greatest Player-Turn-Commentator Ever
Let's face it, Peyton Manning's professional football career is damn near done. After getting benched in Sunday's blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs -- a game where he simultaneously threw four interceptions and broke Brett Favre's career passing yards record -- it's safe to say that he's going to be thinking long and hard about returning next season at 40 years old. Factor in the additional news that he's walking on a torn plantar fascia (that's a foot injury, FYI), and, well, you get the point. Peyton Manning has had an amazing career and undoubtedly understands he is deserving of a dignified exit. There simply isn't that much left for him to play for. He's got a Super Bowl ring and now holds every passing major record a quarterback could possibly want.
• 71,871 passing yards (1st)
• 539 passing touchdowns (1st)
• 5 Most Valuable Player Awards (1st)
And so it appears that the next chapter of Peyton Manning's career is upon us: a smooth transition into sports media. Guess what? He'll also be the best at this because, in case you're unfamiliar, he was custom-built to talk about football on television. Below are four reasons why I think he'll be the greatest athlete-turned-commentator ever...
1) HE'S SAFE
Try and find a clip where Peyton Manning goes off script and says something controversial. The best you can do is this moment, when he was asked about his neck injury prematurely ending his career and responded by saying, "All I'm really worried about is how quickly I can get a Bud Light into my mouth." It's a rare breed of athlete that can walk the line of being candid without crossing the line of being insensitive. Steve Young currently the reigning champ of this, but he's hardly as entertaining as Peyton. His conservative leanings (he's a Republican) are barely noticeable because he's always measured and respectful, which isn't an easy reputation to develop given how closely the media rips scrutinizes everything athletes say.
2) HE'S KNOWLEDGEABLE
Peyton Manning knows more about the modern NFL than anyone on Earth, in part because he's an obsessive student of the game, but also because he's the one who's primarily responsible for changing it. As the league continues to become more aerial, Peyton Manning's commentary will be as insightful as anyone currently on television heaving their analysis into the ether. What's more, Manning has demonstrated a respect for and a comprehensive knowledge of the sport's history, having been raised by an NFL quarterback in the football hotbed that is Louisiana.
3) PLAYERS LIKE HIM
Something you don't often realize about players-turned-commentators is that they can and often do break stories -- or at least glean insight from direct sources within NFL locker rooms. That's almost entirely why ESPN tapped Ray Lewis to join their Monday Night Football crew -- he's respected enough to have access media members rarely get. Peyton Manning's incomparable career and affable personality have earned him some serious respect around the league, most notably his chief rival, Tom Brady. Listen him talk about DeflateGate AND support his close friend at the same time. That's a winning quality for a broadcast journalist (which is essentially what these guys become when they finish playing) because it fosters a level of trust that equates to exclusive information.
4) HE'S HILARIOUS
Off the cuff, scripted, whatever -- Peyton Manning is a very funny dude. Between his United Way spoof on "Saturday Night Live" and his seemingly endless reel of commercial work, the guy knows how to deliver a line. He also somehow manages to be self-deprecating, despite all the success and an intense competitive streak that has kept him in the NFL well past his expiration date (he's quietly played through injuries for the last two seasons). If there's one thing we've learned from TNT's "Inside The NBA", it's that a sense of humor can turn an informative program about sports into a must-see variety show. As we've seen with Dan Marino's exile from CBS, the funny guys stay and unfunny ones get the boot.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.