'Scandal' Season 3 Premiere: Olivia Pope and Peyton Manning Have A Lot in Common

When Scandal’s season opener aired last night, it became clear that Scandal fans who love Thursday Night Football cannot stay loyal to both. It may seem like a dramatic choice, but the options are more similar than you'd think.

Scandal will almost always win out for me. I’ll likely find myself flipping to the TV drama right after halftime, and coming back to the game in the middle of the fourth quarter. But luckily for me, I won’t have to adjust my thinking at all. You see, in every episode of Scandal, Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope and her team of #gladiators go to battle, much as any pro-football does on the field. Olivia is basically the quarterback of her team. I’m going to go so far as to say she’s the Peyton Manning of TV characters. Here’s why.

1. They both suffered serious career setbacks, and many doubted their return.

In last night’s episode, Olivia was dropped by what seemed like every single one of her clients as a result of the adultery accusations surrounding her and President Fitz. Although Olivia was once the most sought after “fixer” in D.C., her clients seem to have little faith in her ability to clean up her own mess.

Peyton, too, suffered a serious career setback — albeit a more physical one. His neck injury, and subsequent surgery, led to the collapse of his team and his eventual departure from the Indianapolis Colts. Many wondered if his injury would end his career.

2. They've made it work with new recruits.

Peyton Manning had to transition and adjust to an entirely new team, offensive system, and a band of receivers known as the “four horsemen.” Similarly, Olivia has had to keep on fixing, and even though there may be moles on her team, she has never lost her cool. Seriously, though, does anyone know why David is still hanging around the office? 

3. They both have dads that have schooled them to the game.

Archie Manning and Papa Pope (played by actor Joe Morgan) are both pioneers in their respective fields: the former was an Ole Miss football legend, and the latter is a master of Francis Underwood-style politics. Both have parents who drive them to be ever better. Peyton’s dad clearly instilled the same type of thinking in his sons, including Cooper and Eli, and so crafted the inspiring football family they’ve become today.

4. They're both too good to stay down for long.

Sure, Olivia considered hiding out for a hot minute, but a few scenes later, she was back in her white suit, kicking ass and taking names. The Season three premiere ends with Olivia’s name cleared, and Fitz still hopelessly in love with his boo.

As for Peyton, remember that time he threw for seven touchdowns in the Denver Broncos' 2013 season opener? Yeah. That was awesome.

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Amirah Mercer

Amirah is a film and entertainment writer, who frequently focuses on the intersection of gender, race, and identity. She has been published on Salon.com and in "The Fader" and "Vibe" magazines. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Sociology.

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