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Super Bowl Postcards: Manning at Carnegie Deli

Posted Feb 1, 2014

Andrew Mason's latest postcard from Super Bowl XLVIII investigates an autographed photo of Peyton Manning at Carnegie Deli.

NEW YORK -- It's debatable as to what is the most notable part of Peyton Manning's framed picture on the wall of the renowned Carnegie Deli in midtown Manhattan.

Is it that his autographed photo has a prominent place behind the cash register of the Carnegie Deli, not far from Tom Brady, where everyone can see it as they check out after attempting to eat a corned beef Reuben drowned in Russian dressing and big enough for a family of four to eat comfortably?

Is it the way he signs his message to the deli -- in quotation marks, writing "Great Food"? Why are the quotations needed? Is there a subtext to his message as a result? Did he think of writing, "Nothing's finer than being in your diner," and then realized that a "Seinfeld" homage wouldn't have been appropriate for a restaurant that was never mentioned during the nine-year run of the sitcom?

But then I realized that only I would obsess over such pathetic speculative minutiae, and settled on something else: that the man who just had the greatest statistical season for a quarterback in NFL history, who is on the short list of the finest quarterbacks to ever play the game, and is probably the most recognizable 21st-century NFL player is honored alongside hundreds of celebrities, politicians, actors and statesmen with his first name misspelled as "Payton," like the late Chicago Bears running back.

Seriously? The deli managed to spell Britney Spears' first name properly; you can see her spot just above Manning's.

A deli doesn't survive 76-plus years in Manhattan without doing something right. But one-pound cheesecakes in this corner of the greatest restaurant city in the world are the speciality, not proper spelling.