Ranking Manning Commercials from Worst to First
When Peyton Manning walks away from the NFL, he will leave the game as a surefire Hall of Famer and one of greatest pro quarterbacks ever. And even though he’ll finish his career as the all-time leader across a myriad of statistical categories for the position, Manning’s place in the pantheon of NFL quarterbacks will always be a subject of debate, because it’s Tom Brady’s world and Manning—like the rest of us—is just living in it.
However, few pro athletes—in any sport—have proved to be a television commercial commodity like Peyton Manning. Most star athletes are just window-dressing in an advertising campaign, throwing a football through a tire swing, or just a celebrity face awkwardly delivering a few lines. Worst of all, they’re rarely funny when it’s obvious they’re supposed be (and that’s not the athlete’s fault…usually).
Peyton Manning is a natural in front of the camera and is genuinely funny. Considering the number of commercials featuring Manning, and the classics among them, it’s obvious that he is a muse for the advertising industry. Including his entire body of work when ranking the best of Manning’s commercials is just too daunting, especially when there are obvious choices for the best of the best. So this list isn’t all-inclusive.
With that in mind, here are Peyton Manning’s 20 most memorable commercials, ranked from worst to first.
Peyton Manning’s Buick campaign was not his best work, but he did his best with what he was given. This commercial isn’t terrible, but it’s uninspired and safe, much like a Buick itself.
That being said, Manning is a much more believable pitchman for the brand than Shaquille O’Neal.
19. Papa John's
At this point, Peyton Manning has done what seems like a billion commercials for Papa John’s, the wholly mediocre pizza chain in which he has a significant financial investment.
The latest spot features Peyton and Papa at a press conference full of reporters that only have eyes and questions for Papa, with some showing an open disdain for his favorite pitchman.
It don’t really get much better, or much worse, than this, so this is the first and last Papa John’s commercial you’ll be seeing.
The first of a few commercials featuring both Peyton and Eli, this spot for Oreo also includes a brief cameo from momma and poppa Manning. Unfortunately, the addition of satellite Mannings isn’t nearly enough to compensate for a premise that is fundamentally lacking.
Archie stands in for the audience, slapping his forehead in confused frustration at a press conference where his sons are announcing their mutual intention to become two-sport athletes. The other sport? Speed-licking the stuff in Double Stuf Oreos. And yes, it's as icky as it sounds.
Of the two spots Peyton Manning did for the Nerf Vortex (a toy created by breeding a football and a badminton shuttlecock), this is definitely the lesser of the two. Manning attempts to impress reporters by demonstrating the product like only a pro can.
His boasting is immediately undermined by a child who easily returns the ball to Manning from 50 yards away. He takes getting shown up by a 10-year-old in stride, but it would have been a lot funnier if he pitched a fit.
The satellite Mannings didn’t do much to elevate the first Oreo stuff speed-licking commercial, and the addition of Venus and Serena Williams is equally unsuccessful.
This commercial is slightly better, though, mostly because there is less close-up footage of Peyton and Eli licking.
The recent follow-up to a surprisingly catchy Nationwide spot that aired in 2014, Peyton Manning’s second crack at the commercial jingle isn’t quite as successful.
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to a proven winning formula, but ending with another chicken parm line should be reported to the department of redundancy department.
Peyton and Eli Manning aren’t necessarily bad in their Gatorade “Sweat It to Get It” spot. The are, as you would imagine, likable enough, with each possessing both the acting and comedic chops to not embarrass themselves.
The biggest problem isn’t even with the Brothers Manning, but rather how they suffer in comparison to J.J. Watt’s version of the same campaign. He brings a creepy intensity that elevates the material to another level.
Peyton does the exact opposite of that in a solo appearance, playing a gas station manager far too convincingly.
DirecTV had a pretty good run with Rob Lowe as their pitchman—seriously, poor decision-making Rob Lowe was just classic. Unfortunately, their current series featuring NFL players is just a lazy facsimile.
While none of the ads have been particularly inspired, Peyton Manning’s may have been the worst. Peyton Manning and really high voice Peyton Manning—really? It doesn’t get much lazier than that.
Well, apparently it does get lazier than really high voice Peyton Manning. So far, Manning is the only player featured in two of these DirecTV spots, yet he was given the lamest material of the bunch.
Because scrawny arms Robe Lowe worked well enough, skinny legs Peyton Manning isn’t a bad idea in theory. The problem is that Manning’s regular legs are skinny enough that those don’t actually look that weird.
Peyton Manning’s MasterCard commercials used to be an annual affair. It’s a shame he’s not still shilling for the credit card giant, because the premise was actually quite inspired. Usually the one being cheered by millions, Manning flips the script and becomes the cheerleader.
Providing enthusiastic encouragement and seeking autographs from the guy stocking groceries at the supermarket to the employees refilling the salad bar at a local restaurant, Manning sells it all. This spot is good, but we'll see one that is great later on.
This NBC commercial for Sunday Night Football features Peyton and Eli Manning running through the many ways in which they keep themselves occupied during the football-less summer months.
Between games of chess, go fish, Dance Dance Revolution, Jenga, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Connect Four and even thumb wars, the Brothers Manning hardly even miss football. That is, of course, until they do.
In the superior Peyton Manning Nerf commercial, the future Hall of Fame quarterback finds himself in the middle of an unlikely game of keep-away while playing catch with a couple of kids.
If this seems a little familiar, it’s probably because Manning was involved in another staged game of keep-away far more recently.
“Chicken parm you taste so good.”
The original spot for Nationwide features Peyton Manning making a series of declarative statements to the tune of the insurance giant’s trademark jingle. The commercial wasn’t great, but the chicken parm finale provided some unexpected staying power.
Peyton Manning used to really crank out material for MasterCard. Considering how many there were in the “Priceless Pep Talk” series, the comedy is unexpectedly consistent throughout them all.
“I drive a minivan,” for the fella that’s forced to drive a minivan, is a personal favorite. But “Bad Haircut” for Slick, “No Social Life” for Big Shot and “New Job” for Sup My Man are up there as well.
The supposed rivalry between the Brothers Manning has been an ongoing storyline in the NFL since Eli was drafted No. 1 overall just six years after Peyton was drafted in the top spot.
While there’s no doubt the two of them are competitive, this hilariously authentic feeling SportsCenter commercial is proof that all sibling rivalries are, at their core, the same.
5. Reading PSA
Taking the SportsCenter pushing and shoving siblings stuff even further, in this reading PSA, Peyton and Eli are joined by big brother Cooper and dad Archie. It’s hard to imagine anyone but the Manning family being able to pull this off.
In a scene that might as well be ripped from The Book of Manning, except for the fact that they’re all full-grown men, Peyton, Eli and Cooper goof around together in bunk beds while an increasingly exasperated Archie dutifully reads them a bedtime story.
Rocking a comically bad wig and mustache in this Sprint commercial, Peyton Manning’s subtle sense of humor really shines as a guy in a Peyton Manning jersey who loves nothing more than keeping up with his favorite players.
Players like, for example, Peyton Manning—a guy who’s pretty good, ya know, if you like 6’5, 230-pound quarterbacks with a laser-rocket arm.
This “Play Your Best with: Peyton Manning” spot for Gatorade expertly combines Manning’s Hall of Fame football skills and his delightfully juvenile sense of humor.
Proving he has a bright future in coaching, Manning breaks down his mechanics perfectly. Step 1: Wipe the windshield. Step 2: Elbow your brother. Step 3. Flick the booger off your finger.
2. DirecTV (AGAIN)
The Brothers Manning again, and again...and again! Peyton and Eli are so often at their best when they’re together. Nowhere is that more evident than in their DirecTV commercials, which are consistently hilarious.
Say it with me!
“Let’s go insurance adjusters, let’s go! Let’s go insurance adjusters, let’s go!””
“Cut that meat! Cut that meat!”
In Peyton Manning’s best commercial to date, he geeks out like a gushing fanboy over a guy successfully pumping a tank a gas and the opportunity to meet his favorite accountants. The whole thing truly is priceless.
You knew this would make the list. This hysterical United Way spoof was the highlight of a wholly impressive hosting performance Peyton Manning gave on Saturday Night Live.
This obviously isn’t a commercial, but who cares. Playing completely against type, Manning is absolutely amazing as one of the last people you’d want around your kids.