Peyton and Eli Manning ManningCast auditions for the third host, screengrab via Omaha YouTube.

There has been a noticeable shift in the number of guests welcomed by Peyton Manning and Eli Manning on season three of the ManningCast. And that wasn’t necessarily by design.

In season one of the ManningCast (which ESPN officially calls Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli), the alternate broadcast had four guests on every episode except one, when they had just three guests. Last season, the former quarterbacks welcomed three guests on every episode except for three, when they had four guests. But through three episodes this season, the ManningCast has had just two guests each week.

Thursday afternoon, Peyton Manning joined The Pat McAfee Show where he was asked about the ManningCast’s early success this season. And the two-time Super Bowl champion sort of attributed it to featuring less voices.

“The plan was sort of the same philosophy,” Manning said. “We started out with four guests in year one, we went to three last year. We tried to have three this past season and we’ve had some late cancelations, we’ve only had two guests, so it’s given more time for Eli to make fun of me. It’s certainly given us maybe a little more time to talk some football, so maybe that’s something we’ve kind of stumbled on to. But it’s been fun.”

It would seem odd if through the first three episodes of the ManningCast this season, they had a late cancelation each week and couldn’t find a replacement. But intentional or not, the ManningCast is better with less guests.

When Omaha Productions tweets out their guest-list, it undoubtedly serves as a good marketing tool for the show when they can promote having personalities like Aaron Rodgers, Barack Obama, Charles Barkley and LeBron James. But even though they’re entertaining personalities with a lot of name recognition, most of the interviews fall flat. Sure, they’re bound to give a good quote worthy of a clip for social media, but for most of the interview, Peyton and Eli struggle to balance asking questions remotely while simultaneously analyzing the game.

Earlier this year, Peyton revealed the one rule they have for a guest making an appearance on the ManningCast. “The criteria for being a guest is you gotta love football,” Manning said. “You can’t come on to promote your tequila.”

That’s a great rule, but there should be one more. You can’t be a guest on the ManningCast if they already have two other people booked. Two guests should be enough to reach a diverse audience, get fun clips for social, and allow the Mannings to do what they do best on the show, chop it up with each other.

[The Pat McAfee Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to