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The men Peyton Manning made

Great quarterbacks don't just transform teams. They transform lives.

Jon Gruden often has spoken of the impact Brett Favre had on so many of his teammates and coaches. Gruden would joke that Favre was responsible for a lot of finished basements, new pools, weddings and additions to the houses of his coaches.

(Meanwhile, as the indomitable Marc Sessler put it, there are a bunch of ex-Browns coaches living in studio apartments.

It got me thinking: Who are the people that Peyton Manning has affected over the years? To put a finer point on it, who are the people that Manning made some money for?

Here's the incomplete list we came up with:

Early life

Newman High School: The Manning family decided to send their kids to a small, beautiful private school with excellent education in Uptown New Orleans. (That also taught some of my New Orleans friends.) It was a surprising choice for such high-profile athletes, and the school has benefited from the publicity ever since.

Peerless Price, Tennessee wide receiver: Manning's profile helped bring attention to Price in college. Then again, it wasn't until his second NFL contract that Price was really overpaid.

Phillip Fullmer, Tennessee coach: His Manning-led teams didn't lose more than two games in a season during Manning's final three years. After winning a BCS National Championship with Tee Martin in 1998, Fullmer's squads lost at least three games in nine of his next 10 seasons.

David Cutcliffe, Duke coach: Consider this a relationship with equal mutual benefits. Cutcliffe is the coach that Manning returns to every year to work on his mechanics, and he's done an incredible job at Duke. His history coaching up Peyton and Eli has been good for everyone involved.

Colts years

Jeff Saturday, center: His mind-meld with Manning was incredible.

Ryan Lilja, guard: It was not a great idea to pay Colts linemen to leave Indianapolis.

Brandon Stokley, wide receiver: A tough slot receiver whose career was extended multiple years by the Manning family, including Eli.

Jim Sorgi, backup quarterback: Even one contract after being in Indianapolis was one too many. Once again, Eli helped hook it up in New York!

Dallas Clark, tight end: A better-than-average starting tight end who got paid like an irreplaceable part. He topped 650-yards receiving twice.

Jacob Tamme, tight end: Manning brought him to Denver.

Jim Irsay, owner: Lucas Oil Stadium essentially is the house that Manning built. Of all the people on this list, Manning made Irsay the most money. A franchise quarterback is vastly underpaid because of the salary cap.

Jim Caldwell, coach: It wasn't Caldwell's fault that the team absolutely collapsed without Manning; that's more on the front office. But let's be honest: Caldwell doesn't get another swing of the bat as a head coach with the Detroit Lions if he doesn't have that Manning-led Super Bowl XLIV appearance.

Tom Telesco and David Caldwell, general managers: They started in Indianapolis, and now run their own teams in San Diego and Jacksonville, respectively.

Tom Moore, Colts offensive coordinator: Manning's offensive guru was viewed as an irreplaceable part in Indianapolis.

Folks Manning help make little extra

The following group would have done plenty well with or without Manning. But working alongside an all-time great raises all boats.

Debate: Most Valuable Player?


Peyton Manning appears primed to win his fifth MVP award, but the Broncos QB is not a unanimous choice among our analysts. READ

Jamal Lewis, Tennessee running back: Lewis would have been a top prospect regardless, but his best collegiate numbers by far came when Manning was under center.

Marvin Harrison, Colts wide receiver: It would be insane if he doesn't end up a first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Reggie Wayne, Colts wide receiver: His production with Andrew Luck will help Wayne's Canton case when the topic comes.

Tarik Glenn, Colts offensive tackle: Protecting Manning was a premium. Glenn just lost his passion for the game and retired early.

Bill Polian, general manager: He built successful teams in Buffalo and Carolina and then constructed a Colts roster around Manning's strengths. There were some flaws in the approach, but it's hard to argue with the regular-season success.

Tony Dungy, coach: Jon Gruden helped take the Buccaneers over the top in the Super Bowl like Manning helped take Dungy over the top as a coach. You need offense.

Future money

Eric Decker, Broncos wide receiver: A great No. 2 receiver who will make No. 1 money as a free agent.

Julius Thomas, Broncos tight end: Thomas is an incredible physical talent, but he only had one career catch before this monster season.

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos running back: His career was on life support as recently as last season. Moreno deserves a ton of credit for passing Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman on the depth chart, but he's not topping 1,500 yards and 13 scores without Manning.

Adam Gase, Broncos offensive coordinator: Like Tom Brady, Manning's coordinators usually go on to head-coaching jobs. (See Mike McCoy.)


Todd Helton: Maybe he would have been foolish enough to pursue a football career if he hadn't been stuck behind Manning as a quarterback at Tennessee. Instead, Helton made that long-term contract baseball money. And those contracts are guaranteed.

Every Indianapolis media outlet: The NFL is good for business. The transformation of Indianapolis into a football town has been remarkable.

Downtown business owners: See above.

Papa John's: And every other sponsor that tried to "cut that meat" by making cash off Manning's "laser-rocket" arm.


Nicholls State: Manning has brought big names and national attention to the Thibodaux, Louisiana University with his annual passing camp.

The NFL: Manning-Brady is the defining rivalry of this generation. Those games, along with Manning's general presence, only has enhanced the value of the monster television contracts that have helped make the league go.

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