Last Thursday night, B'nai B'rith Omaha hosted its 60th annual sports banquet at the city's Century Link convention center.
The sold-out event was headlined by National Football League star quarterback Peyton Manning, the record-setting five-time league MVP.
B'nai B'rith International Chairman of the Executive Gary Saltzman was a special guest on the dais along with area sports celebrities. But the real stars of the show were two high school seniors, named the B'nai B'rith Bert Render and Earl Siegal Award Scholarship Winners for excellence as scholar-athletes.
The event was covered extensively in the local media, but also drew national headlines, appearing on ESPN and Grantland.com, as Manning articulated his special connection with the city of Omaha.
Gary Javitch of the Henry Monsky Lodge, Peyton Manning, Judy Saltzman, and Gary Saltzman, B'nai B'rith International Chairman of the Executive.
Manning was the was the featured speaker at the B'nai B'rith sports banquet Thursday night, and he promised the crowd of 1,200 he'll keep shouting "Omaha!" at the line of scrimmage.
Manning has been using the city's name as part of his pre-snap routine for years, but his "Omaha!" chants put the city of 400,000 in the national spotlight during the playoffs because they came in so loud and clear over television field microphones.
"I can't tell you how many suggestions I get on what word I should use next year -- cities, states, businesses, a lot of websites," Manning said. "I am here to tell you I am sticking with 'Omaha!'"
Before the banquet, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce presented Manning with a check for almost $70,000 for his foundation for at-risk children. Businesses donated money for every pre-snap "Omaha!" shouted by the 2013 NFL MVP.
"I'm very pleased to be here in the real city of Omaha," he said. "People of this city have been very gracious to me during my visit here. This (donated money) will go a long way to help the children at risk."
Peyton Manning attended a B’nai B’rith event in Omaha, the city famous for having its name yelled by Peyton Manning while playing football, and promised to continue to yell “Omaha!” while playing football for the foreseeable future.
Now, this column and the sports Internet as a whole are loco for equal parts smarm and snark, so let me take this moment to say with sincerity: Omaha is a pretty cool city.
Way cooler than the picture I had in my head of Omaha before my first trip there.
I think people don’t necessarily know that about Omaha. It’s true. It has a nice downtown, a few cool music venues, some great food, and legal gambling a stone’s throw away.
And apparently the B’nai B’rith events there sometimes feature Peyton Manning!
If you live on one of the coasts and have the option to take a work trip to or a road trip through Omaha, seize it. If you live close to Omaha, visit Omaha more often.
If you can’t visit Omaha, listen to the new Conor Oberst album as a tribute to the city of Omaha. Seriously, guys: Omaha. Get on it!