Peyton Manning's hopes for a Super Bowl championship took a detour that didn't go through “Omaha.”
The Denver Broncos quarterback, whose line-of-scrimmage audibles of “Omaha!” in the two playoff games puzzled and fascinated millions, barely used that code word in a 43-8 loss Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks.
Karla Ewert, spokeswoman for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, said chamber officials are disappointed for Manning and Denver but appreciate all the attention that Omaha has received the past three weeks.
“The whole thing has been fabulous for Omaha and fun for the country,” she said. “It was picked up all over the place and on all the national news shows.”
The two Denver playoff games were televised by CBS, and microphones clearly picked up Manning's pre-snap cadence and his repeated call — 75 times in those games — of “Omaha!”
The Super Bowl was televised by Fox, and field microphones were aimed more at crowd noise. Ewert said Manning apparently called “Omaha!” a couple of times, but it was difficult to tell.
Seventeen Omaha companies had pledged to donate $100 to Manning's foundation for at-risk children for each time he shouted “Omaha!” in the Super Bowl. Several companies made a similar pledge for the AFC championship game, resulting in $24,800 that will be donated.
Ewert said companies will decide early in the week what to donate in light of Manning's decision not to rely so heavily on “Omaha!” audibles.
She said chamber officials knew the attention would come to an end.
“It's been so much fun and a great ride,” she said. “It's visibility we could never afford to purchase.”