Police apprehended Jerry Borgman this week, a 49-year-old contractor who allegedly appeared in dozens of commercials pretending to be Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Though Borgman is shorter than Manning and would always refuse to take off his reflective sunglasses on set, he was still able to pose as Manning for at least a year, without being detected by the millions of Americans who saw his ads or purchased products believing them to be endorsed by a Super Bowl MVP.
Psychologist Dr. Todd Priveti explains that Borgman was able to get away with the con for so long in public sight primarily because of the ubiquity of Manning's commercials. "Humans have evolved in such a way to block out ambient noise and other environmental stimuli the nervous system deems unimportant. For most Americans, Manning's droning voice and flat blah face simply faded into the wallpaper."
Here are some of Borgman's most notable hoaxes in his time as Peyton Manning:
- Borgman's commercials for Samsung TVs ran concurrently with the real Manning's commercials for Sony.
- Injured his back horsing around with kids in an NFL Cares spot, causing Jim Caldwell to mistakenly put a healthy Peyton Manning on the disabled list.
- Watched a Giants game with the Manning family at Cowboys Stadium.
- Manning fined after Borgman shoved a photographer at a Los Angeles-area convenience store.
- Ducked out of an NFL awards dinner after the real Manning unexpectedly made an appearance.
- Turned down humiliating Oreos spots with Eli and the Williams sisters, only to see the real Manning agree three weeks later.
- Started at quarterback in the 2010 Pro Bowl.