Is Peyton Manning worth $96 million?

Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler Corporation

By Tom Quiner

Do you remember Lee Iacocca?

He was the mastermind behind the development of the Mustang for Ford Motor companies back in the 1960s.

The Mustang was a huge hit and made Ford millions.

He was also involved with the engineering of the Ford Pinto, which wasn’t so successful, because of a little problem with their gas tanks exploding.

Ford fired him for that debacle.

Chrysler hired him to turn around their company as they hovered on the brink of bankruptcy. Mr. Iacocca earned a salary of $1 per year until they began to turnaround, which they did.

As the company rebounded with a vengeance, his salary was hiked to something like $15 million per year.

A very good friend of mine, who happens to be very liberal, remarked that “no one is worth that much money.”

I responded, “says who?”

She didn’t have a response other than “says me!”

I suspect Chrysler thought he was worth the money, because he saved the company. They did not have to pay him that much. They did it because they thought he was worth it …

… which leads me to Peyton Manning.

Peyton Manning, new quarterback of the Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning was recently released by the Colts because his $90 million contract was considered too rich in light of his recent health problems.

The Denver Broncos quickly picked him up and signed him to a $96 million five year deal.

Is he worth it?

My friend, the liberal, would reiterate her view that “no one” is worth that much money. The Denver Broncos view Manning as their Iacocca. The Colts were an also-ran team when Peyton Manning came on the scene. After a miserable rookie season when the Colts went 3-13, the Manning-led Colts made a dramatic turnaround that made them the team with the best record in a ten year stretch ever, including two trips to the Super Bowl and one championship.

When Manning got hurt, the Colts immediately collapsed and became the worst team in professional football.

With Manning, the Colts are winners.

Without Manning, the Colts are losers.

Mr. Manning is certainly reviled as part of the “one percent” by members of the Left who are motivated by greed and envy. And yet Mr. Manning did so much good for Indianapolis, the city, in terms of his charitable giving and the job creation he engineered by turning them into a rabid football town.

The Left is hell-bent on bringing down the producers through comparable-worth legislation, pay equity laws, and high taxes on society’s most-productive members.

Let us instead take a lesson from Peyton Manning: let the cream rise to the top.

Is Peyton Manning worth $96 million? Yes … as long as someone is willing to pay it.

They are.



  1. Bob on March 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    The people who kill me are the ones who drone on about the multimillion-dollar salaries of star athletes and so on, then compare them to how much an elementary school teacher is paid, and then ask dramatically, “What does this say about our society, that we value a football player more than the person who teaches our children?” Talk about economic illiteracy and complete failure to understand the workings of the free market! If someone wants to make as much money as a star quarterback on a pro football team, he ought to become a star quarterback on a pro football team, not an elementary school teacher. Of course if you say that, the liberal twit you’re arguing with responds with the obvious fact that not everyone can become a star quarterback on a pro football team… which is precisely the point. There are thousands, probably millions, of people who could become school teachers. There are only a very few who can become professional football players, or golfers, or boxers, or baseball players, or whatever — which is why they can command such large salaries. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand.

    • quinersdiner on March 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      I couldn’t say it better myself. Thanks for writing.

  2. juwannadoright on March 20, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    By now, Tom you probably realize that I am a free-market person. I could care less if Mr. Manning or anyone else in the NFL makes a billion dollars a year. They are doing so without the benefit of my contribution which I believe it is still my right to withhold. The same goes for my attitude about CEO’s. Let the shareholders decide the issue.

    As to Bob’s comment, with which I for the most part agree, I would just point out that when the statistic books are written and we have a record of the greatest sports events of all time – none of them will have changed the world. A teacher can do that one child at a time. Sadly we have few that would be considered starting quarterback material for that effort.

    • quinersdiner on March 20, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Good point, and thanks for weighing in.

  3. One-Eyed-Poet on March 21, 2012 at 2:21 am

    There are two ways that corporations come up with the millions of dollars with which they compensate their ceo’s: 1- They cheat their customers by overcharging them and 2- they cheat their lower level employees by paying them less then what they otherwise could have.