Peyton Manning would be great front man for Tennessee Vols No. 1 NIL collective | Adams
Tennessee has been ranked No. 1 in more than baseball this spring. On3.com has ranked Tennessee’s NIL sports collective No. 1.
And that’s a big deal.
Not long after the NCAA ruled athletes could make money off their name, image and likeness, NIL was added to the sports lexicon. Then came NIL collectives, which are companies formed to facilitate NIL deals for a single school. They provide channels by which affluent boosters can contribute to a fund for paying college athletes.
Spyre Sports is the name of Tennessee’s NIL collective. Here’s what On3 reporter Eric Prisbell wrote about it: "No collective to date has pushed the envelope more – or been bolder and more ambitious – than this Tennessee-centric collective.
"As one industry source said, 'Spyre is not messing around. They are big spenders and are smart about it.' ”
Perhaps, it can eventually raise enough money to make the Vols competitive in football against Alabama and Georgia - or at least Florida.
Of course, championships aren’t built on money alone. You can’t just hire any Derek, Butch or Jeremy and expect to fill up your trophy case. You also need competent coaches, which – based on how the Vols performed in coach Josh Heupel’s first season – Tennessee has.
Heupel is now the face of Tennessee football. But who’s the face of UT’s NIL collective?
A collective shouldn’t be a covert organization. It should be promoted the way Heisman Trophy candidates are. Collectives need to send a message loud and clear to athletes: “We will make you rich.”
And who better to deliver that message than Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning?
He’s rich, famous and a UT alum. He also has become one of the most recognizable faces on television.
He and his brother Eli have their own version of Monday Night Football, and you hardly can get through a day without seeing one of Peyton’s commercials.
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Peyton was in so many Super Bowl commercials, you probably concluded the telecast featured three former SEC quarterbacks: Peyton, Matthew Stafford, and Joe Burrow. He contributed his name, image and likeness to Caesars Sportsbook, Michelob Ultra and the NFL.
In the next Super Bowl, I expect to see Peyton in a commercial extolling the benefits of commercials.
Who wouldn’t want him as a spokesperson?
Imagine another Peyton commercial on ESPN, but this time on Tennessee football: “Your money will go a long way in Knoxville, Tennessee. Why do you think so many people from California and New York are moving here?
“Join the crowd and become a Vol. I did.”
Peyton wouldn’t come cheap. Nor should he. But if Tennessee boosters are willing to spend more than $1 million for a high school quarterback, why not dole out a few more bucks for a hall of fame quarterback as your NIL front man?
After all, Tennessee owes Manning.
He quarterbacked the Vols for four years. And all he got was a scholarship.
John Adams is a senior columnist. He may be reached at 865-342-6284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at: twitter.com/johnadamskns.