Eli Manning Is Sending a Bartender to Super Bowl—and Will Work Her Shift!—in Stella Artois' New Campaign

"I'm excited, and a little scared honestly, to fill in," says Manning, who joins former NFL stars Dan Marino and Ryan Clark to celebrate America's bar and restaurant workers during Super Bowl 2022

Eli Manning Stella Artois Super Bowl ad
Photo: Stella Artois

Eli Manning has an important new position to play on Super Bowl Sunday: bartender.

In a campaign with Stella Artois, the former Giants quarterback is sending a deserving bartender named Meg to Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles — while Manning takes over her game-day shift at the Las Vegas bar where she works.

"When you think about the Super Bowl, it's often about being with friends and family. But so many people are working that day and don't get to enjoy the game," Manning tells PEOPLE during an exclusive Zoom interview. "So for me to take someone's place, and for Meg and a loved-one to get to be there at the stadium and enjoy that day is pretty special."

The two-time Super Bowl champion is no stranger to being tested in high-pressure situations, but he admits that stepping behind the bar on one of the busiest days of the year is intimidating.

"I'm excited, and a little scared honestly, to fill in for Meg on Sunday," says the star, who surprised her with the Super Bowl news in the "Stella Substitutes" video above. "But I've been in enough bars so I think I can figure it out. My plan is I'm going to keep it pretty simple and go by the book. I don't want to break anything, I don't want to spill anything. I'll just worry about getting that beer in the chalice, getting a nice pour with a little foam at the top, and everybody will be happy."

Stella Artois is including former NFL stars Dan Marino and Ryan Clark in the job-swap campaign too. The pair with also be sending other restaurant and bar workers and their guests to the big game at Sofi Stadium, while the veteran players take over their Sunday shifts in Los Angeles and Miami.

Placing himself in new and challenging roles appears to now be habit for Manning, who entered the world of NFL broadcasting this season with older brother and fellow two-time Super Bowl champion, Peyton, to host ESPN2's Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli — more affectionately known as "Manning Cast."

The set-up was simple: The brothers — and a rotating roster of celebrities, athletes and public figures — provide commentary and analysis during the live broadcast, sharing perspectives, stories and knowledge that only these former professional quarterbacks could offer.

In the midst of all the football talk, though, Eli often found himself the focus of some unexpected but hilarious viral moments that took off on social media — from giving the double middle finger live on air and receiving an official nickname from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to rocking a gold Death Row chain given to him by Snoop Dogg and recreating Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott's hip-shaking warm-up moves.

"I had no idea that those things were going to take off or become a big thing while they were happening," says Manning, who retired from the NFL in 2020. "There was no trying to create something to go viral — everything was all pretty authentic. That's what makes it fun: You never know what may happen, and what someone might say on live TV. It's late at night, and some people might have had a cold beverage or cold Stella before, so you never know what may pop out."

One thing that did pop out from the Monday night series was a surprising and recurring fashion story: quarter-zip sweaters, which the brothers often wore on the show and became a running gag on Twitter. "I guess we just have a lot of quarter-zips," says Manning with a laugh. "It's something that I've always worn. I live in the northeast, and it's cold a lot in the mornings."

"I started thinking about Christmas presents and birthday presents that I've given to Peyton over the last five years, and I think I've given him like seven quarter-zips. And he's given me some also over the years," he says. "I'm just worried that one day, we'll both be getting ready in separate places, and we'll get on camera to do a TV interview and we'll be wearing the exact same color, same brand, same quarter-zip. That is my nightmare."

Although he will be spending this Super Bowl working the bar in Las Vegas, Manning says his Sundays are usually dedicated to time with family and close friends at his house in New Jersey.

"I'm usually at home watching the game with my kids, and we have a few people over. It's just a great time to enjoy it with friends and family," says Manning, who is dad to daughters Ava, 9, Lucy, 7, Caroline, 6, and son Charlie, 2. "And that's really what this whole Stella Artois campaign is about: to savor life together."

"So much of your time is spent hustling, working and grinding, that you've got to savor those moments when you can just sit back and relax. I think Super Bowl has become one of those holidays for people, where it's a day meant for getting together with the people you care about, having fun and enjoying that moment."

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