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The Reel Life: Peyton Manning's "Omaha" edition

23 Jan 2014

Peyton Manning is going to the Super Bowl, and the entire city of Omaha, Neb., is riding on his coattails.

The Denver Broncos quarterback is arguably the greatest football player in the history of the sport, and in 2013 he had the best season ever for a player at his position. And yet, a majority of his notoriety lately has been due to an arbitrarily assigned signal when he stands at the line of scrimmage.

If you haven't watched a Broncos game recently, Manning tends to yell the word "Omaha!" when he is setting up plays before the snap. He yelled "Omaha" 44 times in Sunday's AFC Championship Game victory over the New England Patriots. And the TV cameras and microphones were there to capture each one.

Meanwhile, eight major companies from Omaha decided to get in on the fun, combining to donate $800 to Manning's "Peyback Foundation" charity for each time he used his newly-famous catch phrase. In total, the companies raised $24,800.

Look, nobody is going to argue against ways to generate money for charity, especially when it benefits at-risk youth. But the Reel Life also thinks this whole "Omaha" shtick is maybe going a bit too far. Quarterbacks around the league have used equally arbitrary and innocuous audible and signal calls for decades, but for some reason only Manning is famous for his version. It doesn't make much sense.

Oh well. If it keeps raising money for charity, I guess we won't hold up a fight. Maybe next year Manning will yell "Springfield" and create a bidding war between all 50 states. (Yes, all 50 states contain a town named Springfield, at least according to The Simpsons.)

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