We really didn’t know what to expect when ESPN announced it would run a parallel broadcast of Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli Manning. Sure, we all understood their football chops, and they showed the ability to entertain on Saturday Night Live, but sustaining that for a three hour football game is a whole other story.
Now, just one night in, we can immediately say this experiment wasn’t just a success, but one of the most fun things to happen to the NFL in decades. Not only was the Manning-based telecast informative, but it was damn, damn funny.
Peyton and Eli— Tony X (@soIoucity) September 14, 2021
"shocking that a helmet doesn't fit you they didnt have a 2xl helmet to fit that forehead??" pic.twitter.com/2h0EpoENWK
It was non-stop entertainment. Two guys with decades of experience bantering and poking fun at each other, applied to an NFL game. This was pro football meets a YouTube reaction video, and it didn’t take long to realize we were watching something special.
The Peyton and Eli Manning telecast for this football game is incredible. It would be awesome if we could get something like this available for NBA games. pic.twitter.com/U14F9ChnjC— The NBA Analyst (@The_NBAAnalyst) September 14, 2021
The thing that made this all tick was how effortless it felt. Just two brothers who love the game of football with all their hearts, breaking down plays and communicating it effectively to viewers. If you wanted to dive deeper into the Xs and Os on the NFL, they had you covered.
Then, if you needed a break from football jargon because it made your head hurt, they had stuff like that as well — such as Eli’s fire alarm going off mid broadcast, or Travis Kelce accidentally saying “shit” on live TV.
Here's a fire alarm going off during the ESPN MNF broadcast with Peyton and Eli Manning. pic.twitter.com/nwdDt1iZc9— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 14, 2021
At a time where we’ve all been separated from watching sports in large groups, Peyton and Eli filled the void by simply acting like our friends who came over to watch the game. When the game ended in dramatic fashion they didn’t feel the need to go overboard with hyperbole or blow it all out of proportion, they were just shocked like the rest of us.
"Did he say delay of game?"— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 14, 2021
"They didn't have a timeout? oh my gosh."
"Now they gotta send the offense back??"
Just complete disbelief by Eli, Peyton and Russell.
What an ending.pic.twitter.com/hYRYP1MQbn
For years people have been wondering how we make broadcast football more exciting. So many innovations have been attempted with technology, helmet mics and sideline reporting — but the Manning brothers unlocked everything that’s great about the NFL and put it on display for the world. Just two guys, having fun, and making it all fun for us along the way.
I’ll never be able to watch a game again without wishing I had Peyton and Eli on the call.