ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Peyton Manning is as prolific a pitchman as he is a passer, and he can't even avoid all the commercials he stars in.
"I change the channel immediately," Manning said. "And if other teammates are in the room, I run out of the room. I don't even want to hear the abuse coming my way. I don't watch a ton of TV, so I don't see a lot of it. But that's what I do, I change the channel. Nobody should be caught watching themselves on a commercial."
Even when his mug isn't on the TV, Manning receives pot shots.
One of Manning's latest endorsements is for Nationwide Insurance, and in the commercial he delivers a series of seven-syllable sing-songs to the company's "Nationwide is on your side" jingle.
He hollers out "50-Omaha-set-hut!" on the football field. Then in the cold tub mutters "Losing feeling in my toes." As he's driving, he sings, "Nothing beats that new car smell." Then, in a kitchen he bites into a sandwich after admiringly singing, "Chicken 'parm,' you taste so good."
That last ditty caught up to him recently.
"We had some chicken parmesan in the lunch room the other day and he was loading it up and I said, 'Hey, what is that?'" Denver Broncos teammate Mitch Unrein recounted Wednesday.
"Oh, it's chicken 'parm,'" Manning replied.
"I was like, 'Oh, does it taste so good?" Unrein cracked.
All Manning could do was join in the laughter.
"It was a layup," Manning said. "I just served it right up to him."
And yes, it did taste good.
"It was not bad," Manning said.
Not many teammates have the guts to razz Manning.
"I didn't know what was going to happen when I started giving him a hard time about it, "Unrein said. "But he was a good sport about it."
It takes some serious panache to poke fun at the five-time MVP, and Unrein certainly has that. After all, he's the most surprising member of the touchdown-catch club in Manning's career
Denver's fourth-year defensive tackle lined up at fullback on Dec. 2, 2012, slipped into the left flat on first-and-goal from the 1 and hauled in Manning's floater to help the Broncos beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-23.
"Everyone can (roast him), but it takes a certain amount of guts to do it," Unrein said. "And I was feeling lucky that day. ... It kind of just came to me and I decided to give him a hard time."
Manning was asked if he told Unrein he won't be catching any more touchdown passes from him as a result of being a wise guy.
"Yeah, he said he doesn't have any more room in his trophy case to put the ball," Manning said. "So, I don't think he can have another."
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