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Peyton Calls Omaha — And Passes Out Some Free Publicity

PEYTON MANNING: Omaha. Omaha. Omaha. Omaha.


We have no idea why Denver Broncos' quarterback Peyton Manning has chosen the word Omaha dozens of times to signal plays at the line of scrimmage in the run-up to the Super Bowl, and he's not giving it away.

MANNING: It's a run play, but it could be a pass play...


MANNING: ...or a play-action pass, depending on a couple of things: the wind, which way we're going, the quarter and the jerseys that we're wearing. So...

BLOCK: We do know that Omaha is thrilled. City businesses have agreed to donate $800 to Peyton Manning's charity every time the word passes his lips. That's added up to about $25,000 so far. And the city's Chamber of Commerce has folded Manning's calls into the soundtrack of a promotional video.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: We know Omaha works for Peyton.

MANNING: Omaha. Omaha.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It works for us, too.


BLOCK: And the president of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, David Brown, joins me now. Mr. Brown, welcome to the program.

DAVID BROWN: Hi. It's nice to be with you. Thanks for having me.

BLOCK: And safe to say, you were counting the Omahas in the championship game?

BROWN: It's safe to say, there were hundreds of people counting the Omahas in the championship game this past weekend. Absolutely.

BLOCK: Well, whatever he means by it, I guess Peyton Manning's choice of your city has been pretty good for business. You figure any publicity, especially in a big game like that, got to be good for Omaha, right?

BROWN: You know, it really has been. We're always trying to promote the fact that we're a great city with great quality of life and cost of living and great jobs and those kind of good things. So when an opportunity like this presents itself, it just adds to our ability to kind of build our brand out there for people and companies that might be looking for a place that they could invest or have a career.

BLOCK: Do you think there's any way you can measure the effect? You know, can you point to any way that you'll say, you know, Omaha is really benefiting from Peyton Manning's choice of Omaha?

BROWN: We've done some measurement of the media impact, of course. (unintelligible).


BLOCK: Like this interview, for example.

BROWN: Yeah, absolutely. We know how many times we've been interviewed. We know how many times there have been articles written. But, you know, what I've been able to see so far from people I haven't talked to in 20 years making contact and colleagues that I haven't worked with in a long time, (unintelligible), I mean, this has been highly pervasive across the country and probably in ways that no matter how much we want to spend on a marketing budget, we probably couldn't have reached people in this particular way.

BLOCK: Well, here's another little bit of fun that I guess Omaha is having with this, is this true, the Omaha zoo has named a penguin chick Peyton?

BROWN: Yeah, we had, I think, five chicks born last weekend, and they named one of them Peyton, which is kind of fun. You know, there have been breweries that have named their beers Omaha beers this past weekend. There have been cupcake companies that have made special Go Broncos cupcakes here in town. I mean, it has just really kind of captured the imagination of all those really, really creative people out there that are trying to make their businesses successful.

BLOCK: You know, it seems to me, Mr. Brown, that time is really of the essence here, right? You got to milk this now because who knows in the Super Bowl, he might have moved on from Omaha. It could be Natchitoches. It could be Pascagoula. You don't know what's going to come out of his mouth.

BROWN: I would be very surprised, to tell you the truth. I think he'll just continue on doing what he's doing, not for any other reason than that. It's comfortable for him. It's a habit for him. And being an old athlete, you don't change those things that you've been using because it might just change your luck. So we're hoping that he believes in that, too.

BLOCK: Well, Mr. Brown, it's good to talk to you. Thanks for telling us about this.

BROWN: Thanks for having me. It'll be interesting, so keep your eyes peeled to see what we do next. But go Broncos and go Omaha.

BLOCK: David Brown is president of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. And as for this Peyton Manning call...

MANNING: Bags Montana fat man.

BLOCK: ...bags Montana fat man, we say, Montana, take it away.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Montana, Montana...


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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