Peyton Manning seemed to play it coy about his retirement plans after the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers 24-10. But he provided enough information to allow code-breakers to read between the lines.
“You know, I’ll take some time to reflect,” the two-time Super Bowl-winner told Tracy Wolfson of CBS after the game. “I’ve got a couple priorities first. I want to kiss my wife and kids. I want to hug my family. I’m going to drink a lot of Budweiser tonight, Tracy. I promise you that. I’m going to take care of those things first. Then I’m going to say a little prayer and thank the man upstairs for this opportunity.”
Manning namedropped Budweiser again on the riser placed atop the field for the postgame celebration. The very specific beer reference matters. The NFL forbids active players from appearing in beer commercials. That’s why Bubba Smith, Dick Butkus, and so many retired pros peopled the “tastes great/less filling” Miller Lite commercials of the late 1970s and early 1980s (“All we need is one pin, Rodney.”). Manning effectively told anyone paying attention that he plans on making a lot of money from Budweiser the way he has made a ton of money from Nationwide, Gatorade, and countless other corporations.
Some men announce trips to Disney World after winning the Super Bowl. Peyton Manning kissed Papa John—and then tipped off America to his plans to call it a career by repeatedly calling Budweiser’s name.