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The Final Brady-Manning Bowl Is Football’s Answer To ‘Kingpin’

Whether you’re rooting for Peyton Manning or Tom Brady this weekend says a lot about you.


For the past three weeks, I’ve been telling anyone who knows me (mostly people who hang out at dog tracks and cock fights) that Peyton Manning’s story line is exactly like the movie “Kingpin.”

Do you remember when Woody Harrelson’s character, Roy Munson, has to come off the bench and bowl one last round to bail out his Amish understudy? I’m not calling Peyton’s understudy, Brock Osweiler, a real-life Randy Quaid because, for one, he hasn’t done nearly enough bath salts to be Randy Quaid. But I am saying their athletic story lines are identical.

In “Kingpin,” Roy Munson gets hurt (to put it mildly) and spends two months showing the ropes to a talented but inexperienced rookie, which is exactly what Peyton did with Brock for the second half of this season. Nobody thought we’d ever see Roy or Peyton compete again, but when the playoffs came the rookies were unable to go because of a broken hand in Ishmael’s case and some underwhelming play on Brock’s part. Enter the aging champions to make one last run at the big prize.

Same Archenemies, Same Dogged Faults

Career-wise, it doesn’t get any more “Roy Munson” than Peyton Manning. Both were considered the most talented guys to ever play their positions, but neither won nearly as much as he was supposed to. For Roy, it was the fact that he had a hook for a hand. For Peyton, it was the fact that for most of his career he might as well have had a scarecrow on defense. And it didn’t help that in a lot of playoff games he threw like he had a hook for a hand.

Career-wise, it doesn’t get any more ‘Roy Munson’ than Peyton Manning.

But at the end of both of their careers, with their bodies battered and their nerves frayed—Roy’s from a sketchy call girl, Peyton’s from a sketchy Al Jazeera article—each guy got one more shot at his arch nemesis, the very man who had dogged each his whole life.

In “Kingpin,” Roy has to square off against a supermodel-dating pretty boy named Big Ern McCracken, played expertly by Bill Murray. In Manningpin, Peyton has to square off against a supermodel-dating pretty boy named Tom Brady, played expertly by a sixth-round draft pick out of Michigan who made an outstanding deal with the Devil.

Seriously, if the Devil doesn’t have a lien on Tom Brady’s life, then how do you explain the fact that he has to wear Uggs everywhere? No judgments here, because who amongst us wouldn’t sell our souls to get our hands on four titles, a supermodel wife, and a dimpled chin going into our forties? In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been aggressively searching for this very deal on the Deep Web since the end of last year’s Super Bowl.

If the Devil doesn’t have a lien on Tom Brady’s life, then how do you explain that he wears Uggs everywhere?

Brady and Big Ern are the same guy. Non-stop winning, non-stop pretty. Old Roy Munson and Old Peyton Manning are the same guy, trying to pull the big upset, knowing full well that if they were racehorses in the same shape, they would have gotten shot a long time ago. This is where we are now, as we head into the biggest AFC championship game of all time. The seventeenth and final matchup between Peyton and Tom is a veritable Reno Open between Roy Munson and Big Ern.

So, Flash and Dash or Comeback Kid?

What’s the point of my crack theory? Mostly that I needed to dream something up because I’m sick of talking about the Oscar protests. But also that who you’re rooting for this weekend says a lot about you. If you’re pro-Brady, you’re pro-Big Ern. You like flash and dash, glamour and glitz. If you’re pro-Manning, you’re a Munson guy all the way—aching when you get out of bed in the morning but knowing full well it’s the best you’re gonna feel all day.

There’d be no better story line than to see Manning carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates.

I’m going with Peyton, and not just because I’m currently the kind of “fat” where you’re out of breath from reading. Peyton Manning is one of the best things to ever happen to the NFL. He’s played the game with grace and class from day one, and there’d be no better story line than to see him carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates.

Fine. There’s one better story line: to see him carried off the field on the shoulders of his HGH-using wife.

Of course, if this really is “Kingpin,” Peyton is gonna lose this thing in gut-wrenching fashion, which is fine by me because that means the Broncos will have most likely covered the spread of +3.5 points. In the end, that’s all I really care about, because I’ve got bills to pay and I can’t hate Tom Brady. As dickish as he can be, the dude keeps winning when he’s the overwhelming favorite to do so, which is the hardest thing to do in sports or anywhere, for that matter. If you don’t believe me, ask Hillary.

Of course, if this is really, really “Kingpin,” Peyton’s handlers will make a few million bucks on the side by betting against him at the casino. But then, if Peyton’s handlers were betting against him, this wouldn’t be pro football, it would be pro tennis.