Much has been made about Peyton Manning's decision to name-drop Budweiser on two separate occasions during celebratory interviews following the Denver Broncos win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
It started during his first post-game interview. When asked about his possible retirement by CBS sideline reporter Tracy Wolfson, Manning simply said, "I'm gonna drink a lot of Budweiser tonight, Tracy."
At first there was speculation that Anheuser-Busch had paid Manning to endorse their product while on national TV. Considering that Manning's two mentions of Budweiser reportedly earned $3.2 million in advertising value for Anheuser-Busch, this seemed like a reasonable theory.
Anheuser-Busch, however, shot this down:
A rep for @AnheuserBusch tells me: Peyton Manning "was not paid to mention Budweiser. We were surprised and delighted that he did."
— Brian Steinberg (@bristei) February 8, 2016
Others speculated that Manning's decision to explicitly name Budweiser two different times was, in fact, a clue that the 39-year-old quarterback was retiring. As ESPN's Darren Rovell wrote in 2010, the NFL prohibits active players from endorsing alcohol. So, by mentioning Budweiser Manning was either signaling that he was no longer an active player or he was breaking an NFL rule.
See Manning through the years:
Now there are rumblings that Manning mentioned Budweiser because of a possible small stake he has in two Anheuser-Busch InBev wholesalers in Louisiana, his native state. In fact, it turns out that this wasn't the first time Manning had mentioned wanting to drink Bud Light after a playoff win.
Rovell reports that "all signs point" to Manning having an investment in a Budweiser distributor in Louisiana.
No one's talking, probably because they've been told not to, but all signs point to Peyton owning part of a Bud distributor in Metairie, LA.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 12, 2016
At least one of the signs Rovell is referring to is a San Antonio trade publication called Beer Business Daily, which had previously reported Manning's ownership stake and to whom Rovell had referenced previously.
This Peyton Manning Bud plug has generated fair amount of buzz. He owns a piece of a Bud distributorship, small % of his fortune I imagine.
— Harry Schuhmacher (@BeerBizDaily) February 8, 2016
We have reached out to Southern Eagle Distributors and to Manning's agent for comment.
In the meantime, it seems at least some people are convinced that these two distributors have at least something to do with Manning's comments. He is a quarterback, and he is a businessman. On Sunday, he did a good job at both, but he may have also broken an NFL rule.