ESPN has been chasing Peyton Manning for a role on Monday Night Football for years. Manning hasn’t bitten, yet ESPN continues to chase him, seemingly every damn year.
It appears we can stop the Manning rumor mill for 2019, just like we have for the last several years. According to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News, Manning has once again passed on joining Monday Night Football.
The mating dance has ended. Peyton Manning will not join ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth this season, sources tell Sporting News.
During their last round of talks, Manning passed on joining Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters in the “Monday Night Football” booth. Instead, the two-time Super Bowl champion opted to host ESPN’s new five-part, 30-episode series, “Peyton’s Places,” debuting on ESPN+ in July.
The 43-year-old’s decision to say no to “Monday Night Football” ends years of back and forth between Manning, who retired from the NFL in 2016, and ESPN management led, by president Jimmy Pitaro.
Here’s a brief history of networks (most notably, ESPN) trying to make “Peyton Manning, Analyst” happen to no avail.
- February 2016: CBS shows interest in Manning as an analyst, mere days after his retirement
- February 2016: NFL Network shows interest in Manning as an analyst
- March 2016: ESPN shows interest in Manning as an analyst
- May 2016: Manning reportedly decides against becoming an analyst for the 2016 season
- January 2018: Manning labeled as ESPN’s “white whale” to replace Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football
- February 2018: ESPN and Fox show interest in Manning as an analyst
- March 2018: ESPN and Fox show interest in paying Manning upwards of $10 million to become an analyst
- March 2018: Manning passes on joining Monday Night Football
- March 2018: Manning passes on joining Fox
- March 2019: ESPN shows interest in Manning as an analyst
- April 2019: Manning passes on joining Monday Night Football
See a common theme here? Manning retired three years ago, and networks have been chasing him to no avail since. He hasn’t been completely out of the spotlight since his retirement – Manning has starred in DirecTV ads, hosted the ESPYS, been given his very own NFL version of Detail on ESPN+, and will host an NFL history show on ESPN+ called Peyton’s Places.
I’m sure that every year from now until Manning gets a full-time job in football, ESPN (and probably other networks too, just for the hell of it) will keep checking in on whether or not he wants to become a game analyst, and he’ll keep “thinking about it” and eventually deciding against it. At some point, networks will have to just move on and realize that this is never going to happen, no matter how hard they try to convince him, how much money they offer him, and how many times they meet with him.