For most of his 18-year-career, Manning has been the National
Football League's most bankable player, on and off the field.
A Hall of Fame resume that includes five most valuable player awards
and a slew of significant quarterbacking records provide the
statistical evidence that mark Manning out as one of gridiron's
Those numbers also form the foundation for a portfolio of
endorsements that have made Manning the NFL's top product pitchman
and the "Sheriff" has also become one of the United States' most
But come Sunday there could be a new 'Sheriff' in town.
Newton may not just leave San Francisco with a Super Bowl and an NFL
most valuable player award but he could also have one hand on
Manning's endorsement crown.
"What you have here is something very interesting, the Super Bowl is
now the oldest story in sport, the passing of the flame from one to
the other," Dom Curran, CEO of Synergy USA, who has more than two
decades of experience developing and implementing sports
"If you are over 30 years old, you are probably associating football
with Manning, but if you are under 30 years old you are going to be
associating football with Cam Newton, certainly now and potentially
for the next 10 years."
Both quarterbacks were number one overall picks in the NFL Draft,
Manning taken first by the Indianapolis Colts in 1998 and Newton by
the Carolina Panthers in 2011, but that is where the similarities
end in playing style and personality.
With his disarming southern drawl, Manning projects a 'good 'ol
boy', folksy charm that helps mask an off-the-charts football IQ and
a fiery competitiveness. It is a combination of his skill and charm
that has made him a marketing dream.
At the other end of the spectrum stands Newton, an imposing 6-foot,
5-inch quarterbacking machine. An African-American with a Superman
alter ego, his showboating antics grate on some but are more than
offset by a cutting edge 'cool' factor that connects with a coveted
"Cam has a cool factor about him, he puts his name and reputation
behind different things in different categories again because of the
nature of who he is," said Matt Delzell, managing director of The
Marketing Arm that uses the Davie-Brown Index to track and analyze
the marketability of thousands of celebrities.
"Peyton does pizza and insurance and those are pretty safe
categories, safe companies. Beats (headphones) is edgy, they play
hip hop in their spots and they are all about music and being cool
and Under Armour is certainly a cool brand as well.
"They (Manning and Newton) play in different categories but it works
for both of them."
[to top of second column]
Manning, who can be seen on television pitching everything from Papa
John's Pizza to Nationwide Insurance, ranked number 32 on the Forbes
2015 list of highest paid athletes, making nearly as much in
endorsements ($12 million) as salary ($15 million).
Newton did not crack the Forbes Top 100 list.
"He (Newton) is not quite there," said Delzell. "His trajectory
looks great if you're in his camp. Peyton is going to sell a lot of
different products and brands than Cam is. Cam has got flash, he's
got style, he's an aspirational athlete.
"None of us are going to be 6' 5", 260 pounds of solid muscle who
can throw a 60 yard laser of my back foot.
"Peyton is a little bit more relatable, a sort of 'ho hum' guy who
plays in a humble way. Cam is sort of the opposite. The Superman
thing is pretty apropos."
For all his marketing potential, Newton is in the same league as
sports greats LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Roger Federer, who
occupy a different orbit while pulling in close to $50 million in
For the moment, the NFL is still very much a niche market limited to
North America but it is looking beyond U.S. borders with plans to
become a major global brand.
"It's going to take a pretty sustained effort," explained Delzell.
"When you think about LeBron, Jordan, even Roger Federer - the top
endorsers in their sports - they've been doing it for a long time
and at a very high level in sports that are very global.
"Take basketball in China, the numbers are simply staggering what
you can do if you are LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in China.
"The NFL has not reached that level yet internationally. It is an
American-based sport, so it is tough for a guy like Cam to reach
(Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.