Bet on Tom Brady over Peyton Manning

Tom Brady Under Armour

[Credit: Under Armour]

NEW YORK–Don’t know if Tom Brady or Peyton Manning will win another Super Bowl. But I think the New England Patriots QB has more financial upside as an endorser as they near the end of their careers. Look for him pass his Denver Broncos rival as football’s biggest advertising star on Madison Avenue this season.

Until recently, the off-the-field competition between Brady and Manning wasn’t much of a contest. Brady was reluctant to play the the endorsement game, choosing corporate sponsors carefully and preferring to concentrate on X’s and O’s. Manning seemed to chase most of the marketing checks that came along, from Gatorade and DirecTV to Papa John’s Pizza and Oreo cookies. He’s used his self-deprecating humor and ease in front of the camera to become NFL’s biggest endorser.

But Tom Terrific’s now giving Peyton a run for his money.  He headlined the biggest marketing campaign ever for sponsor Under Armour this summer. He’s become a fashion plate, appearing in GQ and pitching brands like UGG Boots.

Brady can pitch everything Manning can: He’s appearing in new TV spots for the Dodge Dart while Manning is pitching Buick. With his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen and GQ style, Brady can also the upscale fashion brands  that Manning can’t.

Take that Peyton: Brady showed his own comedic timing with a biting Funny or Die video this year in which the native Californian goes off on an annoying Dick’s Sporting Goods clerk who makes fun of his “wicked” Boston accent.

Mike McCarthy interviewing Tom Brady during Under Armour's launch event for new Spine shoesGiven the obsession with his ever-changing hair styles, Brady laughed when I asked him why he hasn’t landed a hair care sponsor at UA’s launch of its new Spine running shoes this summer.

“I know. I’m surprised we haven’t been approached,” said Brady, after modeling the new running shoes with Lindsey Vonn.

Brady’s thinks he’s getting to the “right mix” of career, family and endorsements. “I think it’s a fine balance for an athlete. You have to realize what’s more important to your career. For me, my performance on the field is certainly more important to me than what I do off the field. I’m very selective with what I choose.”

Brady jumped to Under Armour from Nike three years ago. He said he doesn’t “envision being with anybody else” in the future.


Meanwhile, the 3-time Super Bowl champion said he’d love another crack at the New York Giants after losing his second Super Bowl to Peyton Manning’s little brother Eli Manning. “It’s been a rough (off-season). Hopefully, if we get the opportunity to play them again, maybe we’ll catch a break. I’d love for that to happen.”

Manning can still kill when it comes to commercials. Take his funny, well-executed new TV spot for the Buick Verano. (Although I’m not sure I buy him actually driving a Buick any more than I believed Tiger Woods driving one).

But Manning, 36 missed all last season with the Indianapolis Colts due to multiple and serious neck surgeries. He’s starting over with the Denver Broncos after an acrimonious departure from the Colts. The endorsement gap between the two has narrowed. Manning will make around $13 million per year in endorsements this year vs. $10 million for Brady, according to Sports Illustrated’s Fortunate 50 list of highest-earning athletes.

UA founder and chairman Kevin Plank said Brady’s performance in the Funny or Die video shows he’s more willing to show his sense of humor to the public.


Said Plank: “I don’t think Tom Brady’s final story has been written. Like what we did with the Funny or Die video continues to show the texture and dimension that Tom has. He’s a great actor. He’s funny. I don’t think he’s been positioned appropriately.”

 

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