BOSTON (CBS) -- Peyton Manning is known for a lot of things, and one of them is his penchant for penning handwritten letters to offer his support to teammates, colleagues, friends, and peers. There's nothing wrong with sending a handwritten letter, but when Manning sends them they are treated like precious ancient documents.
Watch as brother Eli Manning, former coaches like Tony Dungy, former teammates like Jeff Saturday, and even Derek Jeter, among others, pulling Peyton's letters out of lockboxes and dingy drawers like they're unearthing the Rosetta Stone, reading them as if they're the Abraham Lincoln letter in Saving Private Ryan. They might as well handle the letters with rubber gloves and tweezers.
I'll give Gatorade credit for this: it's a nice touch to include Chris Mortensen, who is currently battling throat cancer. Yes, he played a big role in the distorted public perception of DeflateGate and became a villain in New England over the past-year-and-a-half, but no sane person would wish cancer on another. Mortensen reads Manning's letter to him in the video, which contains lines like "Some things you just can't control." There's also a quick clip of a mom who got a letter from Manning after losing her son. The ad probably should have just been these two people.
Technically, it's a well-made video. But besides Mortensen, the rest of the video comes off like a schmaltzy attempt at ennobling the simple act of writing letters to people, like a letter from Peyton is akin to a message from God himself. And I'm sorry, but sending letters to your own brother in this day and age is kind of weird. Couldn't they arrange to do something in person? Of course not, because then you wouldn't have this neat Gatorade ad!
ESPN business analyst Darren Rovell fell for it.
Again, there's nothing wrong with writing letters (unless they're to your immediate family which is a little odd), and it's not that Peyton isn't sincere with his messages. Perhaps he is. The real problem is companies like Gatorade lionizing these letters like they are sacred scriptures when in reality they're just some nice thank-yous and well-wishes for his contemporaries.
The video bludgeons you with the word "sincerely" at the end. If Manning were as humble and sincere as his most ardent supporters portray him to be, he wouldn't make these letters public. Gatorade wouldn't have to go around telling everyone. It almost feels like Manning wrote all these letters over the years as a "long con" to earning extra endorsements with Gatorade on his way out of the NFL.
If not for Mortensen's part, the whole video would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Almost as bad as blue Gatorade.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.
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