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Editorial: Manning's sour note in the Super Bowl

Peyton Manning looks forward to a night with his Bud after Denver's Super Bowl victory against Carolina Sunday. Photo by Jae C. Hong, AP.

If he soon retires as expected, Peyton Manning will depart the game of football as a two-time Super Bowl champion and all-time leader for victories by a quarterback with 200. He’ll also be remembered for being something else: a shill.

After his lackluster performance in Denver’s victory against the Carolina Panthers, Manning cemented his legacy as a pitchman by giving a shout-out to Budweiser.

Asked twice about retirement at the conclusion of CBS’ television broadcast after his Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, Manning said he needed some time to think about it. He was really looking forward to visiting with his wife and kids and drinking some beer. Sounds like a good idea to us. He has, after all, endured 18 punishing NFL seasons.

Manning went further, though, by saying he wanted some Budweiser. Folks from Budweiser were quick to point out that Manning wasn’t paid for the plug.

Active players cannot endorse alcoholic beverages. But Manning happens to own shares of Anheuser-Busch distributorships in his home state of Louisiana. Guess who makes Budweiser?

In light of the millions it costs companies to advertise during the Super Bowl, Manning’s mentions were worth a lot. An analytics company told The Guardian they had instant value of $3.6 million. According to the Denver Post, they were worth $13.9 million by Monday morning because of all the talk they had generated.

Manning watered down his authenticity, but we get it. The Super Bowl is as much about advertising as it is the game. The NFL rakes in the dough. Why shouldn’t the players put extra bucks in their pockets?

Manning is a popular product endorser. But turning his final moments of glory on the field into a product endorsement left us with a sour taste.