In a twist of irony, Mike Florio reported that Peyton Manning is considering an offer to become part owner of the Carolina Panthers…
Peyton Manning is a popular man since retiring from the Denver Broncos two seasons ago.
The five-time NFL MVP went out on top with the Broncos defeating the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Despite playing a minimal part in the victory itself, Manning’s leadership had a profound impact on the outcome.
Since retiring, Manning is being coveted by media outlets and sports teams all over the country. Many media outlets want Manning to become the next Phil Simms in the press box. Others want Manning’s incredible mind and feel for the game to benefit the front office of an NFL team.
Manning has declined all invitations thus far and even dropped one of his biggest investments, Papa John’s. His focus is on retirement and making fantastic commercials with Nationwide Insurance. Although he hasn’t taken a snap since February 2016, Manning is not hurting for money.
Forbes estimated that Manning accumulated nearly $400 million in career earnings from the NFL and endorsements. This places him at number one all-time. Coincidentally, at the time of this article, Peyton’s brother Eli was number two in career earnings.
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$400 million is a lot of money, but it isn’t enough to purchase the Panthers outright. According to the Charlotte Observer, the estimated value of the Panther’s franchise is in the neighborhood of $2.3 billion. This is $1.9 billion more then what Manning made during his playing career.
The non-monetary value of Peyton Manning
This begs the question how could he consider this offer and why is he being offered in the first place? Bringing in Manning has little to do with money.
Billionaire Ben Navarro wants Manning to run the show and to bring some hype into this sale.
As the Charlotte Observer reported, there are a number of potential bidders. Although the price is important, having a star like Manning joining the group can only aid Navarro in his quest.
This to me smells a lot like recent retired players adventures into ownership with Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan. Derek Jeter is nowhere close to being the majority owner of the Marlins and Jordan did not start out as the majority owner of the Bobcats. Having these players in the ownership group provides the publicity and that extra push through for the ownership groups to complete the sale.
The players aren’t being used, however. Putting money into purchasing a franchise is an investment and an opportunity to dabble in front-office management. It’s a transition that allows them to continue participating in the sport they love without using their bodies to do so.
Although he doesn’t own the Broncos, John Elway is the best NFL comparison to what Peyton Manning is looking to do. Elway is the face of the Denver Broncos, and he brought that competitive spirit to the front office.
Since becoming involved with the Denver Broncos in 2011, Elway has led the team to five playoff appearances and two Super Bowls. The Broncos won one of those Super Bowls in 2015 with none other than the great Peyton Manning at the helm. Elway was absolutely instrumental in bringing Manning to Denver in 2012.
What’s next for Carolina and Peyton Manning
This deal makes sense for both sides. Manning is fond of the area having spent many summers working out at Duke University. Despite his love for Denver, this area has also captured his heart without any assistance by a Super Bowl win.
Imagine the kind of sway Carolina would have on premier free agents with Peyton Manning leading the charge. Carolina is one of the smallest markets in the NFL and having a sure-fire Hall of Famer running the show can only help attract coveted names.
Manning has the mind to do it, just like Elway does. If Manning ultimately decides to accept the offer and join the ownership group, watch out for the Carolina Panthers.
We might just see a rematch of Super Bowl 50 in a few years. The storylines will be incredible. Elway vs Manning, Manning vs the Broncos, and the Panthers opportunity for revenge after a crippling Super Bowl loss.