You read that headline correctly. Our investigative team has determined that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is almost certainly a secret drug lord, living a hush-hush second life similar to that of Walter White on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Sound crazy? Yes, absolutely. But sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
News began circulating Wednesday that there was a popular strain of weed going around in Colorado called “Peyton Manning.” People seemed to get a good laugh out of seeing Manning’s face on a Schedule I substance, but no one seemed to realize that the weed probably indirectly generates a tremendous amount of income for him.
As a sativa-dominant hybrid strain, the Peyton Manning marijuana is enormously potent in terms of stimulating appetite. It gives you the munchies, essentially. And there are few people in the world who profit more off snack-seeking stoners than Manning. Last year, two weeks before marijuana was legalized in Colorado, the 12-time Pro Bowler announced that he was opening 21 Papa John’s pizza locations in the Denver area.
In the months prior, he had been spotted on numerous occasions buddying up with Papa John’s CEO and founder John Schnatter—strikingly similar to how on Breaking Bad Walter White formed a partnership with Los Pollos Hermanos CEO and founder Gustavo Fring. Though one’s a pizza mogul and the other’s a fried chicken mogul, they’re both powerful purveyors of greasy foods, and the parallels are uncanny.
And like White, whose life was turned upside down by a harrowing medical event (lung cancer), it was only after undergoing a series of urgent spinal fusion surgeries that Manning pursued a dramatic lifestyle change: moving from his longtime home in Indianapolis to a marijuana mecca, where he opened over 20 pizza joints and began distributing commercial volumes of high-grade kush. And while fusion surgery might sound less severe than cancer, Giants quarterback Eli Manning noted Wednesday that his brother’s surgeries were “scary” events and that there was a great deal of uncertainty about the future.
Admittedly, a smoking gun has yet to be discovered that would directly link Manning to the marijuana trade, but other pieces of circumstantial evidence make it seem all but certain.
For instance, like White on Breaking Bad, who works with meth dealer Jesse Pinkman and other small-time criminals to build his drug empire, Manning has widely reported links to the violent 18th Street Gang in Denver. The gang glorifies Manning’s number, 18, so much that school districts are now forbidding children from wearing his jerseys to class.
A police profile of the gang indicates heavy involvement in “illegal activities” and certain “enterprises” in order to achieve “respect, power, control and influence” over the area—all of which Manning has clearly obtained. It also notes that the gang maintains its power through “criminal activity, intimidation, fear and violence.” Though Manning has never been legally indicated in any criminal activity, some of his public associates certainly have.
Former Bronco Elvis Dumervil was arrested on charges of aggravated assault four months after Manning signed with Denver, and teammates Quentin Saulsberry and Quinton Carter have also been arrested during The Sheriff’s tenure as play-caller. And let’s not forget Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller, who’s currently serving a six-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy (several sources have reported that he tested positive for marijuana), and who just last month was arrested at a gun club on a warrant.
What involvement did Manning have in inciting these criminal activities? It’s hard to say. But anyone familiar with his hurry-up offense knows that when he says to do something, you better do it. Or else. You don’t question what’s going on inside that gigantic, glorious head.
In Breaking Bad, Walter White turns to a life as a drug lord partially because he is unhappy and disillusioned with his career as a science teacher. It seems to parallel Manning’s own midlife crisis, when, after 14 years and 227 games in Indianapolis, he suddenly opted to go in a different direction. He had already won a Super Bowl, been named MVP four times and Offensive Player of the Year seven times. What else was there left to do? Sell drugs. And pizza. That’s what.
And though Manning doesn’t have a handicapped son to care for like White, he does have a very “special” little brother who will make a mess, tear his MCL, misunderstand procreation, embarrass himself in front of Jay Z, and take all of his clothes off if his big brother isn’t there to take care of him.
In essence, Walter White and Peyton Manning are the same guy. Only Breaking Bad will soon come to an end. Manning, on the other hand, will continue ruling his empire until opposing defenses—and the feds—can figure out how to take him down.