DENVER (CBS4) – Pro football players often say they don’t pay much attention to what the media is saying about them, but for Peyton Manning and his “Omaha” call the hype has been impossible to ignore.
As the Broncos marched their way to the Super Bowl last season reporters began asking the quarterback what his signature shout was all about.
Just like the calls made at the line of scrimmage by many NFL quarterbacks that sometimes mean nothing (see below), Manning’s response in January explained nothing.
“I’ve had a lot of people ask me what ‘Omaha’ means,” Manning said. “It’s a run play, but it could be a pass play, or a play-action pass, depending on a couple of things. The wind, which way we’re going, the quarter and the jerseys we’re wearing. It varies from play to play.”
The hype continued, and officials in Omaha, Neb., began making a big deal about how proud they were to be name-called dozens of times per game by the future Hall of Famer. They began using the opportunity to promote tourism and to raise money for charities. And then in the offseason Manning actually came to visit.
But there are plenty of opportunities for Manning to shout out other things at the line of scrimmage. We came up with some other considerations:
1. Bowlen! – Everyone who loves the Broncos was sad when the news came out this summer that Pat Bowlen was removing himself from his role as leader of the Broncos organization due to Alzheimer’s Disease. Yelling out Pat’s name would be a nice tribute to the man who has worked so hard for so many years to bring Super Bowl rings to Denver.
2. Helton! – Manning and Todd Helton were college teammates on the University of Tennessee Volunteers football team, and to this day they remain friends. Manning’s choice to come to Denver after getting dumped by the Colts offered a nice chance for the Rockies legend to reconnect with his old buddy. Yelling “Helton” often would be a reminder to baseball Hall of Fame voters that Helton deserves to be in the hall when he becomes elligible.
3. Rocky Top! Speaking of the Vols, the song closely associated with the school got Manning dancing during practice in July when it was blared on the Broncos’ speakers during warmups. Perhaps he could a little shimmy to go along with a “Rocky Top” shout from the shotgun.
4. Fat Tire! Manning has a great sense of humor, which is evident from the many commercials that he has starred in over the years. After advancing to the AFC Championship at the start of this year, Manning responded to a reporter’s serious question with a deadpan response about how he really just needed a Bud Light.
But why not give a shout out to Colorado’s famous craft beer scene instead? Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing called Manning out for not doing so And Left Hand is great, but the Colorado craft beer that’s probably known best around the country has got to be New Belgium’s Fat Tire. Shouting that out would make everyone who loves Colorado’s beer scene pretty happy.
5. Pika! The name of this animal that thrives in Colorado’s high country just seems to roll off the tongue. Some QBs yell “Jaguar” at the line of scrimmage — certainly a creature with impressive appeal — but the Pika has an undeniable charm.
6. Pepperoni! – Manning owns many Papa Johns franchises and appears in their commercials. Why not call out everyone’s (except vegetarians) favorite pizza topping, and provide a subtle advertisement for his pizza places.
7. Tripucka! – After the Broncos signed him, the late Ring of Famer Frank Tripucka gave permission to Manning to use his old jersey number that he wore when he led the team in the 1960s. That was despite the fact that it was a retired number. A great sounding last name, Tripucka would be a shout that would put a smile on many a lifelong Broncos fan’s face.
8. Durango! It’s got the same amount of syllables as Omaha, and maybe this southwestern Colorado town could benefit in a similar way if Manning started shouting its name out. Durango certainly has all kinds of great options for tourists, including Mesa Verde National Park just to the west.
– Written by Jesse Sarles for CBSDenver.com