ESPN found something special with the Peyton and Eli Manning ‘MNF’ broadcast

By Andy Nesbitt

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Peyton Manning and Eli Manning began their new “Monday Night Football” show last night on ESPN2, which is basically them just watching the game and talking about it – and a whole lot of other things – while also being joined by guests throughout the night.

And you know what? After some early struggles it ended up being pretty darn good, though it definitely benefited from having such a wild finish to the Ravens-Raiders game, as well as having Russell Wilson being a tremendous guest late in the fourth quarter and in overtime.

I tuned in midway through the first quarter and immediately thought it was fun to watch as Peyton told some story about peanut butter sandwiches while the game was going on.

But I have to be honest – after a while it all became a little too much for me. The nonstop talking (mostly by Peyton) wore me down and I changed the channel for a bit. Also, having Charles Barkley on and hearing jokes about his eating habits felt tired to me. We’ve all heard all of the Barkley jokes by now. We get it.

But then I went back to it in the fourth quarter and I’m glad I did because the insights that the Mannings and Wilson brought down the stretch of the game were so good and were presented in such a fun, casual way that you don’t get from a normal broadcast with a play-by-play guy and analysts doing what we’ve heard on football games for our entire lives.

Wilson was awesome in that he was so loose and was obviously enjoying talking football with Peyton and Eli. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Wilson just having fun the way he was during his appearance.

On the Ravens final drive of the fourth quarter he spoke about how as a QB you need to have discussions before the season with your kicker about little things like which hashmark he prefers for kicks. He talked about how a big 10-yard penalty on first-and-goal at the 10 yard line for the Raiders wasn’t a big deal at all because it was still first down and you had plenty of downs left to make up for that penalty and get a touchdown. He also was quick to question the Raiders kicking a field goal with 7 seconds left in regulation as he thought there was plenty of time left for Derek Carr to get one more chance to get them a few more yards to get a shorter kick.

Wilson just let us into his mind for a bit and he had so much fun doing it that he said he’d stick around for OT and push his hours of game-film watching back until the game was over. It was awesome.

Was this show perfect? Maybe, if you’re a total football nut who lives for this type of stuff. I love football but didn’t think it was perfect. But as I said, the ending was fantastic.

They don’t need to have Peyton and Eli on screen the entire time.

It would be better if the two were in the same room – they’re in different cities so they’re missing the chemistry that would come if they were sitting next to each other on the couch.

And maybe a host would help tighten things up a bit.

But the show had some really great moments. Travis Kelce was on and didn’t realize he was playing the Ravens this coming week. He also said a bad word, which is always fun.

Ray Lewis had some really good stuff about how much tape he watched after learning about how much tape Peyton Manning and other quarterbacks watched.

And then Wilson stole the show down the stretch.

Oh, and Eli had a classic reaction to the Raiders botching a FG attempt moments before their game-winning TD.

And Peyton basically chewing on a football throughout the end of the game was really good, too.

Was it four hours of fun? No, not for me. But when it was good it was really good.

And that made it all worth it.

Quick hits: Dak’s message to Brady after loss… USC should look for non-USC person… MLB ump beaned in the face… And more. 

– A mic’d up video showed what Dak Prescott had to say to Tom Brady right after last Thursday night’s game and it was pretty good.

– USC fired its football coach on Monday and Jason Kirk thinks the school should look for someone with no ties to the school for its next coach.

– Cardinals shortstop Edmundo Sosa accidentally beaned the first-base umpire in the face with the ball while trying to make a great play.

– Fans had lots of jokes about Urban Meyer and USC.

Jameis Winston had the best quote from Week 1 of the NFL season.


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