OMAHA, Neb. — Peyton Manning can’t stop shouting about Nebraska’s largest city.
The Denver Broncos quarterback used the word “Omaha” loudly and often during Sunday’s playoff victory over the San Diego Chargers.
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”).
“I think it shows Peyton Manning really loves Omaha,” Mayor Jean Stothert said Monday. “I’ll personally take him on a tour. He has an official invitation now.”
Omaha was a trending topic on Twitter during the game, and the Greater Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau jumped aboard, tweeting: “We certainly appreciate all the love from Peyton Manning :)”
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’s fee probably would be prohibitive.
If anything, 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.
Brown said the chamber of commerce has worked hard to woo corporations to locate to “the Big O,” as locals call it.