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Peyton Manning is a football legend. The quarterback led two separate NFL franchises, the Broncos and Colts, to Super Bowl wins — the only NFL player to do so. Aside from football, Manning is a spokesperson for many brands. He even owned 31 Papa John’s Pizza locations from 2012 to 2018.

Why did he choose to sell this business investment? There’s a good reason behind Manning’s decision.

Peyton Manning’s involvement with Papa John’s Pizza

The NFL and Papa John’s entered into a partnership back in 2010, reports Restaurant Business. And the former quarterback maintained ownership of 31 Denver-area Papa John’s stores for six years.

Manning starred in commercials for Papa John’s throughout the partnership. He and John Schnatter, the former Papa John’s Pizza CEO, even worked together to create some comedic ads for the company. Manning and Schnatter maintained a good relationship outside of the pizza business. In 2016, the two embraced on the field after Manning’s final Super Bowl win.

Why Manning sold his Papa John’s stores

The QB sold his 31 Papa John’s establishments on February 26, 2018, just two days before the announcement that the NFL and Papa John’s were parting ways.

According to USA Today, the NFL and Papa John’s relationship became strained due to declining pizza sales. Schnatter accused the league of contributing to the chain’s declining sales.

Before the partnership ended, Papa John’s experienced a 3.9% drop in sales in the fourth quarter. Schnatter cited the controversy surrounding the national anthem protests as the reason sales were decreasing. Schnatter expressed his frustration in a statement, “The N.F.L. has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction.”

In December 2017, Steve Ritchie replaced Schnatter as Papa John’s CEO. The partnership between Papa John’s and the NFL ended just two months later.

The NFL and Pizza Hut announced their partnership just one day after the league and Papa John’s parted ways. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke fondly of the partnership with Pizza Hut: “With a focus on family, friends and fun, Pizza Hut has the creativity we are looking for in a partner.”

Manning’s current role as a Papa John’s spokesperson

Though Manning sold his Papa John’s stores back in 2018, he’s continued to be involved with the pizza franchise as a brand ambassador and spokesperson. In this role, the 44-year-old is actively involved in public relations and marketing.

According to Inc, Manning’s ability to learn from others, observe, analyze, and communicate well, has helped him be a successful leader. His determination, perfectionism, and leadership qualities are a big part of the reason he achieved so much success during and after his 18-year football career.

Manning is a spokesperson for Papa John’s, Nike, Gatorade, MasterCard, Nationwide, Direct TV, and more. His career as a quarterback is over, but he continues to remain in the public eye starring. The beloved personality even has a show on ESPN+, Peyton’s Places.

Manning’s football success, humor, and down-to-earth personality make him a wonderful on-screen character for commercials. Though he sold his stakes in Papa John’s, he continues to market the brand as a spokesperson and ambassador.