On Monday night, the Manning brothers debuted their Monday Night Football megacast debut on ESPN2 for the first of 10 episodes this season. The first half was, as one would expect, a bit choppy without a traditional host in place to help them hit their marks and get in and out of commercial breaks, often leading to either Peyton, Eli, or their guests getting cut off by the hard commercial out, but it also had some wildly entertaining moments.
The hope is that as they get more reps the show will become a touch more polished — the delay of everyone being remote also created some pitfalls — but part of the charm of the show is the laid back, not overly professional nature of the two brothers watching a game on the couch together (from separate studios). Eli had plenty of jokes about Peyton’s giant head, while Peyton gleefully brought up Eli’s worst game as a pro against Baltimore when Ray Lewis joined them, and in between jokes there was a lot of genuinely great football knowledge being offered up.
Nobody analyzes the game like Peyton 😂
Manning brothers are live right now on ESPN2, ESPN+ & the NFL app pic.twitter.com/aD4pD0Seyd
— NFL (@NFL) September 14, 2021
There were clearly some scripted elements, but it was at its best when stories were being swapped and the Mannings (and Lewis) were geeking out over coverages and playcalls organically. Things got off the rails a few times, though, with poor Kyle Boller catching strays and, as the first half came to a close, one of the studios had a fire alarm go off, which Peyton naturally blamed on Eli.
The fire alarm went off during the Peyton and Eli Manning broadcast pic.twitter.com/IU51O9vDsB
— Justin Groc (@justgroc) September 14, 2021
They tried their best to just get through it and get to the half, but you could tell both weren’t totally sure how to proceed. In fairness, I don’t think “fire alarm goes off” was something anyone prepped them for going in. There were other technical difficulties, including both of their mics going out at different points, with Eli holding a handheld mic for much of the second quarter like a standup comedian, but overall it was a fun change of pace with plenty of details that need to get ironed out.