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Manning Named Business Week's Most Powerful Sports Figure

Tennessee legend Peyton Manning is listed No. 1 on Business Week's Power 100 list of the most powerful athletes. Fellow alum Arian Foster is listed No. 22 on the list. 

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning is No. 1

By Joel Stonington

What is power in sports? It's not simply the ability to bench-press a truck or crush a golf ball down the fairway. While such talents are impressive, there are other attributes that fans--and advertisers--value just as highly. It's the combination of athletic achievement plus the ability to connect with an audience on a deeper, more personal level that separates mere jocks from the stars. Indeed, the everyman image often earns the highest ranking and the biggest earnings. That explains why the No. 1 spot on the 2011 Power 100 ranking went to Peyton Manning, the well-liked, hard-working Colts quarterback who appeared in two of the last four Super Bowls and led his team to victory in Super Bowl XLI. This year, 2010's No. 1, Tiger Woods, dropped in the rankings when his once-squeaky clean image was revealed to be a sham. Still, Woods has spent an unprecedented 623 weeks atop the World Golf Rankings and in 2010 managed to rack up more than $70 million in earnings, mainly from existing endorsement deals. Even with his earnings down 32 percent from the more than $103 million he took in last year, Woods outpaced all other pro athletes. It's not just likability that moves us. Fans also love the mental toughness it takes to crush competitors and dominate a sport in the manner of Roger Federer or Shaun White.

For the Power Sports 100, Bloomberg BusinessWeek worked with CSE, formerly known as Career Sports & Entertainment, and columnist and Bloomberg TV contributor Rick Horrow of Horrow Sports Ventures to determine the 100 most powerful athletes on and off the field. No coaches, owners, managers, executives or retired athletes were considered. Off-field metrics included the results of polls on individual athletes by E-Poll Market Research and estimated endorsement dollars. On-field metrics were tallied on those who outscored, out-tackled, or outskated the competition during 2009 and 2010. Sports were weighted according to their popularity in the U.S. For a complete methodology click here.

Click here to see the complete 2011 Power 100.

Peyton Manning

Power 100 rank: 1
Rank last year: 5
Sport: NFL/Indianapolis Colts--QB
Age: 34
Most recent notable achievement: 2011 Pro Bowl (11th selection)
Earnings: $30 million
Key sponsors: MasterCard, Reebok, Gatorade, Oreo

Why he's on the list: If there is one man to take over Tiger Woods's role as the leading man in sports, it's Peyton Manning, the most popular quarterback in America's favorite sport. Apart from his amazing on-field performance, Manning is marketable, recognizable, and down-to-earth. It paid off with an estimated $15 million in endorsements last year.

Arian Foster

Power 100 rank: 22
Rank last year: Unranked
Sport: NFL/Houston Texans--RB
Age: 24
Most recent notable achievement: 2010 NFL Rushing Title
Earnings: $750,000
Key sponsors: Boombah

Why he's on the list: Arian Foster capped an unlikely second season in the NFL with the league's rushing title. If you don't know his name yet, you're not alone: Sponsors have yet to catch up. Eventually, Foster will be as popular as Willow Smith and he won't even have to whip his hair.