Peyton and Eli Manning’s simulcast turns Monday’s game into a blast
Posted On September 14, 2021
I saw the future of “Monday Night Football”, and this is Manning.
If you haven’t checked your local rosters for the NFL Week 1 capper between the Ravens and Raiders in Las Vegas – logging into ESPN by rote – then you’ve been missing the alternate simulcast on ESPN2, ” Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli “.
Incredible – especially since the Silver and Black’s spectacular 33-27 overtime win didn’t require any bells and whistles.
Legends of retired quarterbacks and league royals weren’t exactly on their basement couches, overlooking the nachos.
What they did was breathe new life into a frozen medium.
► humor? Check – Eli repeatedly gives the deal to his older brother, even asking if Peyton had sprayed Pam on her shiny, prominent forehead. Peyton predicted a 6-11 season for the Raiders based solely on their opening game incomplete. Sarcasm and self-mockery were displayed in roughly equal measure.
► Football thumbnails? Yup – Peyton happily recounting the story of then-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh asking the wife of Manning’s henchman (and then Duke’s coach) David Cutcliffe to prepare him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after Manning trained for San Francisco during the 2012 offseason as he tried to decide which team to sign after leaving the Indianapolis Colts. The two Mannings shared the challenges of playing and succeeding in a new, unknown football facility on a night the Raiders played their first regular-season game at Allegiant Stadium (aka “Death Star”) in front of fans. Las Vegas.
► X and O? Of course – Telestrator-armed Eli and Peyton with a whiteboard as they dove deep into some rooms, Peyton even wearing a Ravens helmet and Jon Gruden visor as he called out parts and audibles. He even tried to downplay the importance of the conversion on the third down, saying the top teams he’s played for focus on success on the first and second down so they don’t end up in bad situations on the third. trial. Even after nearly four hours of football, Peyton was tracking how often the Raiders’ defense bombed.
► Famous guests? I have that too – Charles Barkley, Ray Lewis, Travis Kelce and Russell Wilson have come by to sprinkle some humor and their own perspectives on football. Wilson looked into things inside baseball and suggested other ways for the NFL to legislate overtime and draws as teams battled through a fourth quarter in the dead end. Meanwhile, Barkley opened up about how his Week 1 bets went.
What is always the same flow? No, but it was opening night. Did a fire alarm go off in Peyton’s studio and did Eli’s microphone temporarily fail? Yes, although these issues were quickly resolved. If you’re worried about injury news or missed stories from pre-game production meetings and constant remote updates, this probably wasn’t the broadcast for you. (Granted, I felt guilty for not listening to the ruthless and incisive analysis that ESPN’s Louis Riddick consistently provides from the network’s main “MNF” booth.)
But if you want to be fresh, fun, educational, and unscripted, this is going to be woefully hard to beat after a traditional football weekend.
I’m not sure I will ever be able to return to Riddick and Co.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.