Papa John’s has Peyton Manning, but Papa Gino’s has the New England Patriots

Peyton Manning & Papa John’s founder John Schnatter.
Peyton Manning & Papa John’s founder John Schnatter.

Forget about Brady versus Manning and a quarterback duel for the ages. How about the pizza equivalent of a pigskin throw-down between Papa Gino’s and Papa John’s?

As football fans know, the TV airwaves have been alive lately with Papa John’s ads featuring Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and John Schnatter, the Indiana uber chef who founded Papa John’s after deeming that Hoosier pizza wasn’t up to snuff. “Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.’’ is the Papa John’s marketing mantra.

Of course, it should come as no surprise to locals that Manning is a peerless pizza pitchman. When it comes to big games, he’s been known to turn in the odd tomato-can performances.


Tomato cans aside, Dedham-based Papa Gino’s has no intention of being eclipsed on the pizza front as fans focus on Sunday’s big game between the New England Patriots and the Broncos.

To remind the local pizza-eating public that Papa Gino’s is the official pizza of the Patriots, the chain’s in-house marketing department is gearing up to wage the social-media equivalent of guerrilla warfare against Denver, Manning, and Papa John’s.

In an alert to the working press, Papa Gino’s said it is planning to have “a bit of fun on social media with Peyton and his Papa John’s ties.’’

That means “clever Facebook posts and jabs at Manning,’’ the alert suggested. And, presumably, mischievous tweets as well.

Papa Gino’s has roughly 150 locations in New England, and many of the chain’s employees have been outfitted with T-shirts that read: “We have great pizza and football. Denver has thin air.’’

Regardless of which team wins, and regardless of how the Brady-versus-Manning debate plays out, it is safe to say that Papa John’s and Papa Gino’s agree on one point: Football and pizza are a natural pairing.

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