Becca Pizzi vs. Peyton Manning, Millennials to the Rescue


Luc-Olivier Merson’s painting depicting Pheidippides giving word of victory at the Battle of Marathon to the people of Athens. Pheidippides, having run non-stop the distance of 26.2 miles from Marathon, delivered his message and then promptly died.

In the most recent edition of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, we asked 762 people from across the nation:

Which athlete’s recent sports accomplishment do you most admire?

And here were the choices:

  • Peyton Manning’s second Super Bowl win
  • Denny Hamlin’s victory driving in the Daytona 500
  • Kobe Bryant appearing in his 18th and last NBA All-Star game
  • Becca Pizzi completing 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days

Given the overwhelming popularity of Peyton Manning (despite recent accusations) and the Super Bowl in this country, perhaps not surprisingly, Manning won with 37% of the vote. But he was not all that far ahead of a strong 31% for runner and runner up Becca Pizzi, who completed an astonishing seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Yes, I just said that. She ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days (for some historical context, see Pheidippides above, pictured after running one Marathon).

The rest of the pack?
Kobe Bryant’s All-Star farewell had 14% and Denny Hamlin’s narrow Daytona 500 victory had 7.

But back to Becca Pizzi. Among women polled, her accomplishment was a virtual dead heat with Manning’s Super Bowl win, with Pizzi coming out on top, 34 to 33.

And within the 18 to 29 year old demographic, men and women combined?

Not even close, Pizzi won it, doubling Manning 42 to 21%.

From 37-31 Manning to 42 to 21 Pizzi is a 27 point swing and switch. In polling talk, that’s big ju ju.

Marketing professionals and sponsors take heed. It has been belabored elsewhere and I will not do so here, but there is something different about this generation we have chosen to call “millennials.” And this time, I would suggest, they got it right:

Becca Pizzi ran seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.



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