It appears that one of the greatest sports careers in history is finally over. After an atrocious day with four interceptions and a 0.0 passer rating (and a torn plantar fascia), Peyton Manning was benched yesterday. Whether he plays again this season or not, it’s clear that age, injuries, and the punishing nature of the sport he plays have finally caught up with him.
Aside from Terrell Owens for a season-and-a-half, Peyton Manning is the closest thing I’ve had to a favorite football player since I was about 10 years old (ironically, it was John Elway). Just like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, it was a pleasure to watch Manning ply his craft with virtual perfection. Talk about Tom Brady and playoff chokes and ringzzzz all you want, but we all know how great Peyton has been.
And he was almost as good off the field. One of the most prolific pitchmen of this era, he made a ton of commercials. Like his game, the best ones happened a few years ago. Here are his five best.
Bonus: United Way
The Saturday Night Live skit of Peyton supporting children in the community with my former employer
If Pey-Pey were Mr. Miyagi.
This has been diluted by its ubiquity and its much lesser sequel, but the first time you saw this it was catchy as hell.
Peyton and Eli doing what brothers do.
The wig is funny, but his deadpan delivery when speaking about himself is what sells it.
One of the greatest commercials ever. Hilarious concept with perfect execution. “Cut that meat!” entered the lexicon.
Thank you for the memories and the laughs, Peyton.
Christopher Pierznik is the author of eight books, all of which can be purchased in paperback and Kindle. His work has appeared on XXL, Cuepoint, Business Insider, The Cauldron, and many more. He has been quoted on Buzzfeed and Deadspin. Subscribe to his monthly reading review newsletter or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.