By Barry Janoff
February 8, 2016: Peyton Manning did not say after his Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 whether or not he would be retiring from the NFL.
He did say that he was taking his kids to Disneyland, but not as part of a "What's Next" on-air commercial that has been a post-game tradition every year except one since Super Bowl XXI in 1987.
Manning, who was at quarterback on Sunday for his second Super Bowl win — an NFL record 200th career victory (regular season and playoffs combined) — told members of the media, "I'm going to Disneyland . . . I'm going to Disneyland."
He was paid for the endorsement, according to industry analysts, but the figure was not disclosed.
Disney addressed the absence of a commercial by telling NYSportsJournalism that the "What's Next" campaign has "taken many forms. This year, we are focusing on celebrating Denver’s spectacular Super Bowl achievement with our guests here at Disneyland," according to a company spokesperson.
Manning and family are scheduled to be feted during a parade on Main Street USA in Disneyland in Anaheim today (Feb. 8), according to Erin Glover, editorial content director, Disneyland Resort.
"Fresh from the Denver Broncos Super Bowl 50 victory, quarterback Peyton Manning is preparing for a magical celebration of his own. He’s going to Disneyland!" Glover posted on the Disney Parks Twitter account.
On the official Disney Parks Blog, Glover wrote, "Following Denver’s 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, Manning is scheduled to celebrate at the Happiest Place on Earth with a parade Monday down Main Street, U.S.A., at Disneyland park.
"Manning’s Disneyland Resort celebration continues a tradition that began in 1987 with Phil Simms of the New York Giants. Manning joins an all-star lineup of heroes from sports and beyond who have come to Disney Parks to celebrate their personal achievements with a dose of Disney magic," wrote Glover.
This was only the second time a "What's Next" spot has not aired post-Super Bowl — the other being 2005 when the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXIX— since the campaign launched after Super Bowl XXI when Phil Simms of the New York Giants, and game MVP, was asked, "You and the New York Giants just won the Super Bowl — what are you going to do next?"
"I'm going to Disney World!" Simms replied.
The honor usually goes to the game MVP, who in Super Bowl 50 was Broncos' linebacker Von Miller.
Last year, however, when Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady was named MVP of Super Bowl XLIX, Disney opted to go with two players who had game-changing and game-saving plays: wide receiver Julian Edelman and cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Manning managed to get in a couple of other post-game endorsements on national TV.
Moments after the game ended, he got an up-close congratulation from John Schnatter, founder and CEO for Papa John's, for which Manning does endorsements and owns numerous franchises.
Papa John's is the official for the NFL and the Super Bowl. Manning appears in ads along with other company endorsers, including J.J. Watt and Joe Montana.
Manning also gave a shout-out to Anheuser-Busch brand Budweiser during two separate national interviews, answering media questions regarding his potential retirement plans.
"Celebrate with my family and teammates. I'm going to drink a lot of beer tonight. Budweiser. (Teammate) Von Miller's buying."
"I got some good advice from my (former) coach, Tony Dungy. He said, 'Don't make an emotional decision.' This has been an emotional week, an emotional night. I have my priorities in order. I want to kiss my wife, kiss my kids. Celebrate with my family and teammates. I'm going to drink a lot of beer tonight. Budweiser. (Teammate) Von Miller's buying," said Manning.
Lisa Weser, head of marketing communications for Anheuser-Busch, wrote on her Twitter account, "Hi Internet. For the record, Budweiser did not pay Peyton Manning to mention Budweiser tonight. We were surprised and delighted that he did."
Manning has financial interests in Anheuser-Busch distributors in home state of Louisiana, according to industry analysts.
The two on-air mentions on CBS from Manning gave Anheuser-Busch an estimated $3.2 million in free media time, based on the cost of 30-second commercials, according to marketing research and consulting firm Apex MG Analytics, Detroit.
Manning earns about $12 million in annual endorsements, the most among NFL players, according to industry analysts, which also includes Nationwide, DirecTV and Gatorade.
Aside from a spot from the NFL touting championship merchandise for sale, the Disney ad is generally the first post-Super Bowl campaign to feature players from the winning team.
Among others who have appeared in the campaign are Peyton's brother Eli Manning, Emmitt Smith, Michael Jordan, Kurt Warner, Jon Gruden, Joe Montana, John Elway, Jerry Rice, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Doug Williams, Magic Johnson and Patrick Roy.
Disney photo courtesy Disney Parks
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