Freud wrote volumes on it: how we view ourselves in others. Pro wrestling blessed us with a much simpler dichotomy: Babyfaces (the hero, the charismatic crowd favorite) and Heels (the bad guy that finds that raw nerve inside you and sinks his teeth in). I once had a long and shockingly deep talk about wrestling with my friend Joe who wrestling fans might know as Joey Numbas, co-host of the Wrestling Soup show. We talked about what makes a Babyface, and soon enough Brady came up. On the surface the supernaturally handsome Brady looks like an easy fit for a babyface: looks, a quiet charm, an underdog past. But somewhere along the lines people (outside New England that is) just stopped seeing him that way. “The nature of people is to cheer what they like to be, and boo what they hate most about themselves,” Joe said to me. “The only time it doesn’t work is when the bright eyed babyface is too strong,” he continued “the whole country hates Tom Brady because he’s too good, and you need your babyface to suck enough that people care.” Did Brady do himself in? The three Super Bowl rings. The super model wife. A combined fortune big enough for neither of them to ever have to work again. A .768 career winning percentage. Did a life that was just too perfect turn him heel? If the internet is any indication of real life (and according to the internet it very much is) Brady had super kicked the NFL world through a barbershop window.
Tom Brady. Peyton Manning. Two QB’s intertwined for eternity as the elite QB’s of the 21st century. Yet we’re led to believe that one is a cheating pretty boy that a crooked league wants to put over like a scheming Vince McMahon. And the other is Peyton Manning: class act, pedigreed super star, and the only man capable of reading a defense without stealing their signals. Being a Brady hater certainly doesn’t make you a Manning fan by default. However, it is my opinion that Manning has been afforded a free pass by an America that either ignores or just plain chooses not to know certain things about the man thought of as Brady’s stalwart foil. So I thought we should reacquaint ourselves before this Sunday’s AFC Championship. So here he is America… The guy you sided with over Tom Brady.
Peyton Manning: The Guy With A History of Sexual Assault
Oh you didn’t know about this? Well then I’ll lead off with it because a lot of people don’t seem to either. This includes the same NFL analysts that never miss a chance to recall Spygate choose not to remember Manning’s sticky past. In fact, this developmental milestone is completely absent from Manning’s Wikipedia article. But it happened. In 1996 Peyton Manning, while in college at the University of Tennessee, was accused of sexual assault by a female trainer. Manning’s side of the story was that he was in the training room and dropped his pants to moon a cross country athlete as a prank, unbeknownst to the fact that the female trainer was in the same room. Whoops. The testimony of trainer Jamie Ann Naughright, however, was much different:
Naughright and her lawyer provided a different version of events. In a court filing, her lawyer wrote that she was examining Manning to see why Manning was having pain in one of his feet and was crouched behind him when “entirely unprovoked, Peyton Manning decided to pull down his shorts and sit on Dr. Naughright’s head and face.”
As Naughright described it in a deposition entered into the court record: “It was the gluteus maximus, the rectum, the testicles and the area in between the testicles. And all that was on my face when I pushed him up. … To get leverage, I took my head out to push him up and off.”
You read that correctly. The trainer bent over to check him for a stress fracture in his foot and he planted his bare ass (testicles and all) on her face as a laugh. The incident was dubbed a “mooning” by a Tennessee football coach in an effort to downplay the severity of what happened. The University of Tennessee agreed and dubbed the incident “horseplay” (as quoted by the Assoc. Press) and no charges were filed. A year later Naughright sued UT citing 33 incidents of sexual harassment including Manning. Her case was convincing enough to land her a $300,000 settlement.
Scandals have become synonymous with Ben Roethelisberger, Ray Lewis, Michael Vick, etc and yes they all deserve it. Manning’s sexual assault, although thoroughly documented, is neither common knowledge nor readily associated with him. Have you ever heard a journalist so much as mention it, much less pour it on as in Lewis’ mere association to a crime? What exactly earned Manning the free pass from a career of rape jokes and scrutiny?
Peyton Manning: The Guy Who Got Sued For Defamation of Character By the Woman He Sexually Assaulted
You didn’t know that either? In 2002 the Mannings had an auto-biography ghost written for them called Manning: A Father, His Sons & a Football Legacy (currently available for $0.01 used on Amazon, cool legacy). The book addressed the teabagging/mooning and very slyly without naming her outright slammed Naughright as an individual with a love of dirty language and lewd behavior. If you’re new to rape culture that’s the long way of saying “She was asking for it.” Naughright’s superior at Southern Florida, her new place of work at the time, had reportedly received a mysterious sealed envelope that contained the passages in Manning’s book about her. Despite favorable reviews throughout the several years she worked there she was suspiciously demoted shortly after and then eventually fired. She took the Mannings to court on a defamation case that included a devastating letter from Malcolm Saxon (the guy Peyton claimed he was “mooning”) to Peyton urging to him “do the right thing” and “maintain some dignity and admit what happened.” The defamation case was settled on confidential undisclosed terms. Considering the $300K Tennessee shelled out I can only imagine what the Manning royal family handed over to make her go away.
Peyton Manning: The Guy Who Can’t Not Endorse EVERYTHING
Gatorade, Oreos, DirecTV, Sony, Wheaties, Buick, Reebok, Sprint, Master Card, Papa Fucking John’s… I LOVE products! That’s the list off the top of my head of products he cashes checks from. He’s on TV 24 hours a day orange barrel re-routing into one side of your brain and out the other. Peyton has reached that late 90’s Hugh Grant level of unwanted over saturation where you can literally change the channel from one commercial of Peyton and find another at random on the next channel and not want to see either, and he’s been there for a long time. You can helplessly repeat in sync “Haay Peyton, just fiiired up the grill” followed by a fist pump your brain doesn’t even know you’re doing. But tell me who are cynical football fans sick of? Tom Brady. The guy who does Uggs print ads because he’s too much of a goof to be trusted on camera. People who associate Brady as some kind of too-cool Hollywood glitterati must not have been alive for the most wooden and painful to watch episode of Saturday Night Live this side of 1990. An acting performance once dubbed by former teammate Rosevelt Colvin in the Boston Metro (I am not going looking for the Metro article to cite) as “Terrible… Not even good enough to be in Coming to America II.”
Peyton Manning: The Guy Whose Team Cheated and Never Got Caught
There’s only so many times by so many teams that you can be accused of generating fake crowd noise into your dome before someone needs to take note of it. The RCA Dome, the former home of the Manning era Colts was a funhouse of surprises for visiting teams. This included, as ESPN noted after a very public audio blunder by CBS (clip no longer available on Youtube), several teams informally but only the Patriots and Steelers formerly lodging such a complaint. This was a year after there was suspicion that the Colts, in an effort to put the squeeze on several Patriots defenders battling the flu during the AFC Championship (game which featured a miraculous 18 point comeback in the 2nd half) the Colts had the temperature in the dome raised significantly. Rosevelt Colvin had to leave the game with cramps because of the heat… in a dome… an architectural concept invented solely for controlling weather and climate.
Belichick complained for years about oddities and suspicious malfunctions of the coach to QB helmet communications, calling it “unusual” and “basically useless” after an early season game in 2007 (won by the Patriots). Apparently the same Indian burial ground that the RCA Dome was founded on migrated to Lucas Oil Stadium where the communication problems continued. For more information Google “4th and 2.”
Peyton Manning: The Guy Who Never Yells At His Teammates
I don’t get what the fascination is with Brady yelling at his receivers but Patriot haters can’t stop themselves from bringing it up. It’s a really blood boiling point of focus for casual football fans longing for anything but football to watch, but don’t have the guts to just get it over with and let their friends see them buying an US Magazine. For them, professionals like Peyton would never yell at his teammates…
Not even in a 2002 Sports Illustrated article when a team of lip readers caught Manning dropping the F bomb no fewer than 9 times in a game.
Peyton Manning: The Guy Who ACUTALLY Influenced the No-Contact Rules
Everyone knows if Tom Brady hadn’t been such a Mary about getting his ACL eradicated life would be better. We wouldn’t have all these pansy “roughing the quarterback” calls. Eggheads wouldn’t be butting in with all this “concussion” B.S. Football players would have guaranteed permanent debilitating brain damage to look forward to. And everything would be a big bacon sunset. Right?
People gripe about the so-called “Brady Rules” implemented in the last few years designed to protect quarterbacks from flagrant and dangerous hits. That’s all well and good except that it’s bullshit. Low hits on quarterbacks were outlawed for the 2006 season, 2 years before Brady’s injury. Long enough for Bernard Pollard to read it. And it wasn’t until 2010 (2 years AFTER Brady’s ACL injury) that the league started handing out 5 and 6 figure fines for hits to the head. This was damage control after public pressure to combat the effects of irreversible brain damage caused from the game. Brady never lobbied for any of these rules. He did, however, pay for them with a pointless devastating knee injury that cost him a full season in his prime. The downside of these rules is that it gives the officials a non-reviewable opportunity to judge a hit on the quarterback in real time, leading to a lot of bad calls and yes Brady has benefitted from a few so has Manning, so have a lot of teams. The other downside is that it forces 2nd rate teams to have to develop a quarterback instead of just injuring other teams’ quarterbacks. It’s a real bum out for some fans who apparently would rather see a league full of Damon Huard’s and Derek Anderson’s behind center while all the starting quarterbacks are in body casts.
Chest puffing fans and the media tend to leave out a very important stepping stone in contact rules, and the fact that Colts owner Jim Irsay lobbied for it. Namely I refer to the 2004 re-evaluation of the illegal contact rules for defending recievers. There were rules for illegal contact prior to this, but referees were generally more permissive and held a “let them play” attitude (that fans are still screaming for today). However, after a Colts loss in the 2003 AFC Championship game owner Jim Irsay cried publicly to the NFL Competition Committee for a re-emphasis on illegal contact. The committee, which featured Colts head coach Tony Dungy and then Rams coach Mike Martz (who 3 years prior had lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl) of course granted this request. And there it was… a handful of people with a vested biased interest refocused the game to fit their needs and significantly decrease the physical nature of the game.
The results of this ruling were longer games, more penalties, more non-reviewable violations that could effect a game at any time, a dramatic shift in the game in favor of the offense, exponentially increasing passing statistics, and of course a critical “face guarding” penalty on Ellis Hobbs in the 2006 AFCCG which sparked a Colts comeback on their way to Manning’s 1st and only Super Bowl win… a penalty that there was “no such thing as” according to Greg Aiello NFL Vice President of Communications who admitted that Hobbs never made contact with the receiver. It’s also worth noting that after several days of searching there is no video or photographic evidence of the phantom PI on Hobbs. I wonder why.
Peyton Manning: The Man Who Almost Got Away With Stealing the 2005 Steelers Super Bowl Run
January 15th, 2006. Steelers at Indianapolis. A date that almost lived in NFL infamy. With the Colts driving down the field in the 4th quarter, future Hall of Fame-er Peyton Manning throws an interception to a diving Troy Polamalu. He caught the ball cleanly, stood up, ran down the field, fumbled, and had the ball recovered by his teammates. The Steelers would have had the ball at their own 48 with 5:14 remaining in the game and an 11 point lead. Referee Pete Morelli reviewed the play, and ruled that Polamalu never had control of the ball.
Morelli was wrong. The NFL immediately admitted the call was wrong. This was 2006, and the NFL rarely made such public admissions, and opposing players even more rarely accused the referees of defrauding the game after a win. No video or photographic evidence exists of this play anywhere on the internet that I could find. Yet it didn’t stop the Colts from completing their fraudulent drive with a touchdown, and coming within 1 missed field goal of stealing a playoff win and letting slimey Jim Irsay re-write history with Manning as the hero. SBNation named it the #2 Greatest Win In Steelers History for upsetting both Manning and the officials in an upsidedown affair that was a victory for real football fans everywhere.
Peyton Manning: The Guy Whose Legacy of Sketchy League Treatment Followed Him To Denver
Any Patriot hater worth his throbbing forehead vein and capslock key knows that the weekly injury report from Foxboro means a Tom Brady shoulder injury. The injustice… How about a failed drug test that took 2 years to disclose. I refer you to Von Miller’s four game suspension earlier this year in regards to a series of failed drug tests that were never made public. PFT’s Mike Florio opined on the matter:
[I]t’s still unclear why it has taken so long to get the appeal resolved. In late 2011, there was some suspicion that the league tapped the brakes on a couple of potential suspensions in order to avoid derailing Tebowmania. In 2012, the Broncos were among the league’s darlings, given the arrival of Peyton Manning.
New team. New colors. Same story. The league openly bends time and space for Manning. The story goes away and your regularly scheduled Patriots conspiracy theories resume.
UPDATE 10/08/14: You can also count the Broncos as the team whose Vice President of Football Operations’ son privately got away with assaulting his girlfriend and dragging her out of the car by her hair. John Elway III (24 year old son of former NFL Superstar and current Broncos exec John Elway) ended an argument with his girlfriend on the night of May 31, 2014 by dragging her out of the car by her hair and shoving her to the ground. Something like this normally makes national headlines and lands somebody a serious assault charge on their record. But when you have Daddy Elway type money, and a Colorado judicial system that worships said rich daddy you can get away with secretly getting your court date moved up to a private hearing off the court docket and having your assault charge reduced to a misdemeanor “disturbing the peace.” If you’re looking for the number of times Jonathan Kraft has beaten a woman I’ll save you the Googling and let you know that it’s zero. I guess there’s just something about being a spoiled baby that gets whatever he wants that breeds that kind of behavior in their spoiled baby children.
And last but not least please don’t ever forget the team you’ve sided with…
The Denver Broncos: The Team That Stole Signals, Won Two Super Bowls, And Bragged About it
“Our guy keeps a pair of binoculars on their signal-callers every game,” says Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. “With any luck, we have their defensive signals figured out by halftime. Sometimes, by the end of the first quarter.”
Sound familiar to anyone? Another fact you rarely hear. You’d think the Broncos fans and press might be a little quieter with the Spygate talk considering their team won a pair of Super Bowls using nearly the exact same tactics that the Patriots were condemned for. I’ll hand it over to Jerry Thorton at Barstool Sports to remind you of the $29 million in cap money Denver hid to win those 2 Super Bowls too.
Disclaimer & Tl;DR: I actually have an immense respect for Peyton Manning the football player. I’ve always been impressed by the story Manning going out of his way to introduce himself to Brady when he was a nobody. He probably (maybe) regrets the whole teabagging incident. And if he offered I’d probably take a ride in his Buick while we get OnStar directions to go egg Mike Vanderjagt’s house. But if you think you’re taking the high road by siding with Manning over Brady you’re barking up the wrong forehead.