Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Peyton Manning doesn’t want to be a game analyst.
Networks (including NFL Network and ESPN) have been lusting after Manning since his retirement after the Super Bowl in 2016, but passed on becoming a broadcaster that year. ESPN and Fox also chased him in 2018, but he passed on joining either network. A year ago, we went through the same song and dance with Manning, and he once again passed on a broadcasting career. This year, Manning was linked to CBS (who ended up just re-signing Tony Romo, which made the most sense) and ESPN. But once again, Manning has passed on becoming a broadcaster, according to another “big, if true” story from the New York Post.
Manning retired four years ago. 2020 will be the fifth NFL season since his retirement, and he has called exactly zero NFL games. Fox (Troy Aikman), CBS (Romo), and NBC (Cris Collinsworth) all have analysts ensconced on their top packages. ESPN is apparently content to roll out temporary fixes year after year until the pairing of their dreams involving Manning materializes. But it’s broadcasting malpractice for ESPN to put all of their eggs in the Manning basket, only for those eggs to get broken when Manning (unsurprisingly) passes on an analyst job each spring.
It’s time for ESPN to move on and decide on a long-term solution for Monday Night Football. Manning does not want to do this – he’s said just as much since the rumors first surfaced back in 2016. It wasn’t the right time then, and it’s still not the right time now, so maybe, JUST MAYBE, it’s never going to be the right time and this is all a waste of our time and energy.
Here’s hoping we don’t go down this road again in 2021 after another stopgap season in 2020. Enough is enough.