Today, I’m writing the article I never thought I would write: Peyton Manning will call Monday Night Football for ESPN. Well, sort of. Allow me to explain.
On Monday, ESPN announced that Peyton and Eli Manning will be calling Monday Night Football via a series of MegaCasts over the next three seasons. The brothers will MegaCast ten games each year, with those games airing on ESPN2 (and possibly on ESPN+ as well).
Here’s a brief description of what the MegaCasts will look like.
Produced by ESPN, in conjunction with Omaha Productions, the unique MegaCast option will originate from a remote location. Fans will be treated to a mix of in-the-moment analysis, big picture NFL dialogue, knee-jerk reaction, historical perspective, and more. Peyton and Eli will be joined each week by a to-be-determined host. Iconic and current athletes, as well as celebrities, are expected to appear throughout the season. Fans will never miss any of the action, as a multi-box viewing experience will ensure the game is always visible.
There will be MegaCasts in the first three weeks of the 2021 season (Ravens-Raiders, Lions-Packers, Eagles-Cowboys), and the remaining seven will be announced in time. Glancing over the MNF schedule, I assume Colts-Ravens, Giants-Chiefs, and Giants-Bucs will all be featured, if only because of the involvement of the Colts and Giants.
The release also noted the continued expansion of the Places series. Peyton’s Places has run for two seasons and will get a third, Abby’s Places (focusing on soccer, hosted by Abby Wambach) debuted earlier this month, and Eli’s Places (college football, hosted by Eli Manning) was announced earlier this year. The release confirms the rumored additions of Papi’s Places (baseball, hosted by David Ortiz) and Rowdy’s Places (combat sports, hosted by Ronda Rousey), and also announces Vince’s Places (NBA, hosted by Vince Carter).
Five new series, executive produced by Omaha Productions and NFL Films, are in production and will debut over the next year. The new series are Abby’s Places, with Abby Wambach (soccer), Eli’s Places with Eli Manning (college football), Papi’s Places with David Ortiz (Major League Baseball), Rowdy’s Places with Ronda Rousey (combat sports) and Vince’s Places with Vince Carter (NBA).
Given ESPN’s new NHL rights deal, you’d assume a hockey series will also be coming.
But all in all, the news is that ESPN has landed their broadcasting white whale in Manning after years of trying. Manning’s been loosely linked to various networks, broadcasting gigs, and NFL package for years, and he’s finally committed to doing something in the space. If nothing else, I’m glad that he’s made a concrete decision, and we won’t have to deal with the speculation every spring anymore.