Networks have chased Peyton Manning for a long time now, and presumably they also would be okay with Eli.
ESPN managed to get both on board for Monday Night Football this fall, albeit on an alternate broadcast that will be a sort of companion option to the main booth a la ESPN’s college football MegaCasts. Initially reports had a three-person booth likely, with a host there to help facilitate discussion, presumably. There was even a report that Adam Schefter was very interested in that role, and presumably others were as well.
Now, though, we finally know who ESPN is tapping for the position: no one.
That’s according to Michael McCarthy at Front Office Sports, who notes that the move comes after rehearsals and planning:
ESPN initially intended to have a regular “host” between the Mannings, but over weeks of rehearsals and phone calls, Peyton Manning’s Omaha Production’s and ESPN concluded the best approach would be the Mannings themselves commenting on the games.
The wise-cracking brothers have both hosted “Saturday Night Live.” They’ve “shined” so much during rehearsals the decision to keep the spotlight on them was an easy one.
The first so-called “Manning-Cast” will be the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13.
“The Mannings are the stars of this show. As brothers they have a natural chemistry. It’s hard to just become a part of that family history,” said a source.
“It’s supposed to be free-wheeling and unstructured. It will be like you’re sitting at the bar watching the game with the Mannings.”
Honestly, this isn’t a surprising choice. The entire appeal of an alternate broadcast like this is getting to feel like you’re watching along with experts. And while a room full of college coaches might need someone to direct traffic, the Manning brothers have been in front of cameras for years.
Letting that flow naturally might lead to some hiccups, but it should also be a lot more organic and offers a lot of potential for both entertainment and insight.
Peyton and Eli will call 10 games per season the next three years as part of their deal. Their first ManningCast: Week 1’s opener between Baltimore and Las Vegas.