Manning crushes: Ten reasons straight men might go gay for Peyton Manning

During Peyton Manning's second season as a Denver Bronco, we've overheard quite a few conversations between guys that go something like this: "I'm not gay, but if I was, I'd really go for Peyton Manning."

Why have so many straight dudes in these parts developed a Manning crush -- a fondness for Peyton that goes way beyond admiration for the way he plays? We've come up with ten reasons, illustrated by videos, that at least partly explain this unusual phenomenon. Count them down below.

Number 10: He looks good even when he isn't trying

Earlier this year, Peyton and his brother, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, did a rap parody video for DirecTV in which he donned a goofy wig and silly stage clothes. It's a ridiculous look, yet somehow, he actually pulls it off. If only his real hair was long and luxurious enough to run your fingers through.

Number 9: He makes the most of his limitations

No, Peyton is unlikely to appear on Dancing With the Stars anytime soon. But rather than shying away from demonstrating his footwork on Saturday Night Live, he embraced his lack of funkiness in a way that was capable of making Julia Louis-Dreyfuss on Seinfeld jealous -- and giving dance-challenged men like him a jolt of admiration (and maybe a little something more).

Continue to keep counting down the ten reasons straight men might go gay for Peyton Manning. Number 8: He doesn't talk about his feelings -- but he doesn't hide them, either....

Although Peyton has spent much of this season dealing with an injured ankle, has he wasted a lot of time whining about it? Hell, no! But his emotions are still easy to read, thanks to an extremely expressive visage, alternately known as the "Peyton Face" or the "Manning Face," that lets folks know exactly what he's thinking. You can bet lots of guys would prefer to get info about their mate that way, rather than actually have to talk with them.

Number 7: ....and when he shows his sensitivity, he does it in a manly way

Peyton Haters -- and yes, this species definitely exists -- ripped on him for getting a little verklempt when saying goodbye to the Indianapolis Colts, where he'd spent his entire professional career prior to joining the Broncos. But if a man must become tearful, shouldn't it be about leaving behind a group of guys who meant a lot to him? And isn't that kinda sexy?

Continue to keep counting down the ten reasons straight men might go gay for Peyton Manning. Number 6: He makes being a family man look easy

Peyton is the father of twins, and while he's clearly over the moon about them, he doesn't come across as overly gooey or gushy. He strikes a tone that's caring but confident -- and that's kinda sexy.

Number 5: He's brainy without being a jerk about it

PM has a reputation for doing his homework -- studying longer and more intensely than any of his peers. But rather than get defensive, he embraces this persona with good humor, as in this ESPN clip in which he portrays the know-it-all ruler of the universe in the most likable sort of way. Wouldn't you love to pick that brain?

Continue to keep counting down the ten reasons straight men might go gay for Peyton Manning. Number 4: He's gracious

Instead of rising to the bait when Colts owner Jim Irsay made negative implications about his ability to win the big one prior to the Broncos' visit to Indy this season, Manning simply talked in the most glowing terms about his time in the city, and the fans -- male and female alike -- loved him for it.

Number 3: He never says die

After multiple neck surgeries, Manning would have been forgiven for walking away from football and into what's sure to be a lucrative post-sports life. But no: He made a comeback for the ages, and handled the adulation that greeted him with modesty and the sort of aw-shucks charms plenty of men wish they could muster.

Continue to keep counting down the ten reasons straight men might go gay for Peyton Manning. Number 2: He's hot

Okay, maybe he's not conventionally hot. If Eli, who's sort of a goober, is usually portrayed as the sexy Manning, you know Peyton's not going to be modeling underwear for Calvin Klein anytime soon. But he's tall, trim, wears suits exceedingly well and has a warm smile. What's not to like?

Number 1: Manning crushes beget more Manning crushes

YouTube is clogged with tributes to Peyton assembled by men who've felt warm and tingly toward him for ages. And when thousands of dudes feel that way, it's only natural that more would join them. That's the straight truth.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Videos archive: "Video: Ron Burgundy grills Peyton Manning on his relationship with Thunder the horse."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts