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Peyton Manning can’t stop shouting about Nebraska’s largest city.
According to an NFL.com video montage, Manning barked “Omaha” before the ball was snapped 44 times during the game.
The reason for the word choice, if there is one, is known only to Manning and the Broncos. But it provided some unexpected publicity for the city of 427,000, perhaps best known as the home of both billionaire Warren Buffett and the Fortune 500 insurance company Mutual of Omaha (sponsor of the old TV show “Wild Kingdom”).
Omaha, in fact, was a trending topic on Twitter during the game. The Greater Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau even tweeted its thanks to Manning for repeatedly plugging the city.
— Official Omaha Info (@VisitOmaha) January 12, 2014
Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce president and CEO David Brown said he was watching the game, and he wondered how his agency could capitalize. Brown said he wants to explore the possibility of hiring Manning, one of the sporting world’s top pitchmen, to shoot a promotional ad for Omaha.
“We’d be foolish not to,” Brown said, adding that he realizes Manning would command a fee that likely exceeds his agency’s budget.
Not to be outdone, Omaha Steaks, an international meat manufacturer, marketer and distributor based in Omaha, also took to Twitter to capitalize on Manning’s mentions.
— Omaha Steaks (@OmahaSteaks) January 13, 2014
If anything, the city of Omaha once conjured an image of a cow town on the banks of the Missouri River. But Doug Parrott, executive vice president for the Nebraska-based Bailey Lauerman public relations and advertising firm, said that has changed over the years because of the prominence of Buffett and national media coverage of events such as the College World Series and U.S. Olympic swim trials.
“Sally,” “Alpha” and “Kentucky” are among the many words that amount to gibberish to the typical fan, and sometimes they truly mean nothing. But the words often are a signal to the rest of the offense to change a play or scheme — and defenses sometimes try to crack the code.
It was apparent that the Chargers associated “Omaha” with Manning’s snap count on Sunday because he lured five different San Diego players to jump offside, an unusually high number of penalties for the same infraction.
For the city of Omaha, the value of Manning’s shoutouts is impossible to calculate, Parrott said.
Parrott noted, however, that air time for a 30-second Super Bowl ad is $4 million this year. If Manning leads the Broncos to the Super Bowl and yells “Omaha” as many times as he did Sunday, well, that’s lots of free exposure for this old cow town.
“Commercials cost money to make, and you have to come up with the idea and hire a production company to make it. It could cost $4 million just for the production, and we get it for free,” Parrott said. “Everybody in Omaha really needs to root for Peyton to take down Tom Brady and the Patriots so we can hear ‘Omaha’ in the Super Bowl.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.