Papa John's founder John Schnatter stepped down as CEO of the international pizza chain on January 1, shortly after criticizing the NFL for costing him money; he claimed pizza sales dropped after league players began taking a knee during the national anthem. And now the rift between Papa John's, which was the official pizza of the NFL until just a few days ago (when Pizza Hut got the nod), and the league has grown just a little wider, especially right here in Denver. Peyton Manning has sold his stake in all 31 of his Papa John's outlets in the metro area.
Manning originally bought into the company when he came to Denver in 2012 and has appeared prominently in several Papa John's ads, some alongside Schnatter. The former Broncos quarterback will continue as a spokesman as part of a long-term agreement, but you won't find him tossing dough behind the counter of any Denver pizza joints anytime soon (unless he lands a job at Anthony's or Blackjack).
We think Manning can do better than a company whose primary topping is "real cheese made from mozzarella" (isn't mozzarella already a real cheese?). Here are ten great Denver pizzerias where you can walk out with a slice of something good — just like Manning walking away from football with the Vince Lombardi trophy in hand.