The line between celebrity and politics has become increasingly blurred over the past decade or so, culminating with the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Before him there was comedian Al Franken as Senator of Minnesota, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California and wrestler Jesse Ventura as Governor of Minnesota.
So why not President Peyton Manning? It's an idea that doesn't sound so foreign to some people around the NFL.
"Peyton Manning will be president one day," an AFC general manager told Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report recently.
This is hardly the first time Manning has been connected to politics. After March rumors of Tennessee senator Lamar Alexander retiring surfaced, Manning had to address the possibility of him running to fill the role in 2020.
At the time Manning said he had "no interest" in the political world.
"I don't know where that came from. Last week I was going to run a team, this week I'm going to apparently run for senate, and next week I'll be an astronaut," Manning said. "I have no interest in the political world, but would like to continue serving communities."
The latest round of rumors were stirred up by the appearance of Manning with Trump as well as Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee at the White House after the trio engaged in a round of golf.
Peyton Manning & Sen. Bob Corker of Tenn. depart the W.H. after President Trump returns from a 4.5 hour outing at Trump National Golf Club. pic.twitter.com/TeWn6KjsqO— Al Drago (@Al_Drago) June 4, 2017
The same AFC GM who told Freeman that Manning will be president "suggested, as did others" that we could see Manning vs. Tom Brady once again, this time with the position of President on the line.
From Freeman's piece:
He suggested, as did others, that one day America could see a Republican nomination fight between Manning and Tom Brady. Another NFL voice even went so far as to predict a Manning-Brady faceoff against LeBron James for the presidency.
Nothing is impossible when it comes to politics, but the idea that Manning and Brady would be dueling Republican candidates is pretty far fetched. Both guys could absolutely win the nomination -- Manning could win any political position in the state of Tennessee right now -- but they're not both going to run at the same time.
Manning, according to former teammate Pat McAfee, would be a natural in the political world.
"If he was to become a politician, I assume he'd be incredible at it," McAfee told Freeman. "He's a leader, a tireless worker and a fabulous communicator. I don't know much about politics, but I think if you have those three traits, you have a chance of being a real world-changer. I hope he gets into it someday; would be great for our country."
There is a natural assumption that Manning will be great at whatever he does and it's because, well, he's been good at just about everything he's ever done so far in life.
Andrew Walker of Colts.com broke down the possibility of Manning becoming PUSA and pointed out that Manning is already an expert in handling the media, is a natural leader, has fantastic charisma and has plenty of experience delivering speeches on a public level (see: his well-received Saturday Night Live appearances).
"He is a Tennessee hero, and if he should ever choose to use his legendary determination, knowledge and drive in politics, he would be an extremely formidable candidate," Tennessee GOP chairman Scott Golden said back in March.
Manning can continue to deny the possibility, but as long as he's still out there without an actual job, there are going to be rumors about his future both in the NFL and in politics. It's just how these things work.