By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — What traits do you want in your president?
If you like 6-foot-5, 230-pound quarterbacks with a laser-rocket arm, you may be in luck.
Peyton Manning, who was photographed this week golfing and chatting with President Donald Trump, is regarded so highly by at least one NFL executive that he could one day become the Quarterback In Chief.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman wrote on Wednesday: “When I asked one AFC general manager his thoughts about the picture, he texted back, succinctly: ‘Peyton Manning will be president one day.'”
Freeman later added: “Around the league, one of the worst-kept secrets was that Manning would go into politics and eventually make a run at the presidency as a Republican. The Trump photo only bolsters that speculation.”
Manning will, of course, have a hard time garnering votes in the six New England states.
And that’s where Tom Brady comes in.
“[The AFC general manager] suggested, as did others, that one day America could see a Republican nomination fight between Manning and Tom Brady,” Freeman wrote.
We’ve officially entered into silly territory.
But then again, have we?
For one, the Oval Office is currently occupied by a real estate magnate-turned-reality television star with no government experience whatsoever. If Trump can rise rapidly to become a major party presidential nominee, then it’s fair to wonder who else might be able to replicate such a path. (That’s probably why some people have taken seriously the idea that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson could actually run for president. People do love entertainment.)
Beyond that, former athletes — like Jack Kemp, Bill Bradley, Kevin Johnson, Jesse Ventura, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name a few — have found success in politics. And the idea of a clean-cut, inoffensive
goober fellow like Manning appealing to the masses is not at all difficult to imagine.
Brady? That may be more difficult, because for whatever reason (mostly all the success), the Patriots quarterback has become quite the polarizing figure around the country. He’s beloved in New England, of course, but it’s hard to imagine him carrying Pennsylvania after he sucked the soul from Eagles fans in Super Bowl XXXIX and time after time has used the Steelers as a welcome mat on the way to Super Bowl success. Colorado? Florida? Hard sells for the Golden Boy.
Basically, a lot of people who have never read anything about either situation would probably just respond to a potential Brady candidacy by saying, “Spygate DeflateGate Cheatriots,” and moving on with their lives.
Yet he is quite charming and quite wealthy, and he’s also going to live until he’s at least 150 years old, so anything is possible. Brady has, many years ago, expressed some interest in the political world. He attended one of George W. Bush’s State of the Union addresses, and in 2004 he said that becoming a U.S. Senator would be his “craziest ambition.” For what it’s worth, he’s always maintained his position as an independent voter, beholden to neither major political party. And he’s apparently never voted much.
Nevertheless, he’s got friends in high places — though we’ve yet to find out the lasting impact of skipping the White House trip in April. Trump’s decision to not once mention Brady in his speech in front of the team certainly didn’t go unnoticed.
Oh, and hey, if the idea of a Manning-Brady debate on CNN wasn’t enough to get your head in a tizzy, Freeman added more.
From Freeman: “Another NFL voice even went so far as to predict a Manning-Brady faceoff against LeBron James for the presidency.”
What would that Peyton-LeBron debate even be like?
“My challenger consistently passed up the big shot in the big moment. 2016 Finals? Kyrie. 2013 vs. the Spurs? Ray Allen. 2012? Mario Chalmers had to save the day when LeBron got cramps! We’re going to hand him the nuclear codes? Unless his vice president can drain some 3’s, we cannot vote for this man.”
“My fellow Americans. I vow to never lead the world in interceptions, as my challenger did in 1998 with 28 of them. I vow to never collapse damn near every January. Most of all, I vow to never blame a liquored-up, idiot kicker, and I won’t blame my offensive linemen for my own failings. I also vow, to you, my fellow Americans, that I will never angrily yell at you to shut up.”
These are, indeed, strange times.