Ever since Peyton Manning retired he has been the white whale of the NFL broadcasting world. Every network, save maybe CBS with Tony Romo, would throw aside their current top analyst to bring Manning on board, but to this point, he has refused to commit to a full-time spot in any booth.
There’s plenty of reason for Manning to say no. He isn’t in need of the money, and the time commitment of being on the road broadcasting games each week is clearly something he’s not interested in right now. Still, that hasn’t stopped the overtures and on Monday, ESPN — where Manning has hosted Peyton’s Places on ESPN+ since 2019 — announced they had finally gotten at least a little bit of their dream scenario.
The Monday Night Football booth is going to stay the same next year, with Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick back for a second season, but Peyton and Eli Manning will now have a presence on an alternate broadcast for 10 games per season for the next three years. The Monday Night Football MegaCast will air on ESPN2, with the Manning brothers and a yet-to-be-named host doing a broadcast remotely with special guests joining to talk about the game and tell stories, 10 Mondays a season.
Peyton and Eli Manning will headline a Monday Night FootballMegaCast on ESPN2 and ESPN+ for three seasons through their new agreement. ESPN will produce it in conjunction with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. It’s slated for 10 games each season, starting this year. pic.twitter.com/sYSdjzhn0I
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 19, 2021
It seems to be a compromise point between ESPN and Manning, who they’ve been effectively begging to join the MNF booth for years. Peyton shows his appreciation for the partnership with ESPN while getting to do a non-traditional broadcast that doesn’t require the travel and time commitment — while also embracing the more fun side of things that he so clearly prefers.
“This partnership with ESPN and The Walt Disney Company reflects an ongoing, shared commitment to offering fans fun, innovative content,” said Peyton Manning in a release. “ESPN+ has been a terrific partner for Omaha Productions as we built out The Places franchise and we’re excited to co-create a new MegaCast format that will have something for everyone.”
It’s going to be very interesting to see how the MegaCast performs, but the Mannings are as beloved as any figures in football and ESPN has had great success in the past with their MegaCast options for big college and NFL games. Now this becomes a staple, albeit one that still has a schedule to be figured out, and ESPN gets their hook a little further in on landing Manning for Monday Night Football.
The MegaCast will be launching the first three weeks of the season, meaning for Baltimore at Las Vegas, Detroit at Green Bay, and Philadelphia at Dallas, with the other seven games still to be determined.