The Arizona Cardinals are getting ready for a major NFC West showdown with the Los Angeles Rams. The game not only features two of the best records in the NFL, a matchup that will no doubt play a role in the division title race, but it will also be the first Monday Night Football game in Arizona since the state legalized sports betting.
However, this season there is a special treat for football fanatics in the form of ESPN‘s alternate broadcast featuring Pro Football Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and his brother, former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
The “ManningCast,” as it has become known, features the two brothers breaking down game action as well as taking every chance to make fun of each other. Throw in a few special guests, and you have what has now become must-see TV.
Manning brothers invite NFL fans into their homes to watch MNF
The Mannings agreed to a three-season deal with ESPN to participate in the alternate MNF telecast. While the more traditional broadcast team calls the game on ESPN, Peyton and Eli give their takes, analysis and humor over on ESPN2.
Essentially, it’s the Manning boys watching the game from their couches. During the broadcast, the Super Bowl champion quarterbacks break down the X’s and O’s on the field and give their perspectives. They also reminisce about their playing days with great behind-the-scenes stories.
Throughout the broadcast, they are joined remotely by various special guests. Current and former NFL players, athletes from other sports, even celebrities join in on the fun.
The telecast takes a casual approach to watching football. It feels like you are at a bar watching the game, and then Peyton and Eli show up to watch it with you. The broadcast has already created its fair share of viral moments filled with jokes, burns and unusual choreography.
Best moments of Monday Night Football ManningCast this season
The Mannings’ lighthearted personalities have turned ESPN’s experiment into an overwhelming hit. We aren’t even finished with the season, but Peyton, Eli and friends have already given us loads of unforgettable TV moments.
‘These hips don’t lie’: Eli Manning hilariously recreates Dak Prescott’s viral dance on MNF
Midway through the first quarter of the Week 3 Monday night game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philidelphia Eagles, ESPN2 showed a brief clip of Dak Prescott‘s viral pregame hip exercise set to salsa music. Peyton was quick to say he didn’t understand it, but his little brother was happy to explain it first-hand.
Eli would then re-create the Dak warm-up while letting his brother know that, “These hips don’t lie.” Let’s just say I don’t think Eli is giving Shakira a run for her money.
Peyton did not pass up on the opportunity to make fun of his little brother.
“I’m going with Dak. He’s got much more torque. Your medium boys jeans are really kind of keeping you from getting turned.”
Eli bests Brady … again
During the Week 7 Monday night matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks, Peyton and Eli were joined by their old rival, Tom Brady. The current Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has a long history with the Manning brothers, most coming during Brady’s time with the New England Patriots.
Brady often talks about his two Super Bowl losses to Eli and the Giants, who toppled the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVII. The losses came up again as the trio chatted about the elder Manning’s recent Hall of Fame induction.
“I was so happy to be there,” said Brady. “I said earlier today how much I admired watching both of you guys play, your incredible careers, and the games we played against each other — although I enjoyed, much more, the ones I played against Peyton than Eli.”
The younger Manning didn’t miss a beat.
“I enjoyed all our games, Tom.”
The subtle rib from Eli to Brady brought a round of laughter to the three All-Pro QBs.
Kevin Hart roasts Eli
As Eli watched his New York Giants take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the Week 11 broadcast, comedian Kevin Hart joined in to watch the action.
During Hart’s appearance, the group flashed back to a conversation the actor had with Eli’s former teammate Odell Beckham Jr. At one point, Hart asked OBJ, “Eli, what’s wrong with his face?” and followed that up by perfectly imitating Eli’s trademark stare. Hart then turned his interrogation to Eli’s brother.
“Peyton, I’m not asking the questions that I want to know. I’m asking the questions that people want to know. There are times that Eli has had the face of gas. He’s got an ‘I just pooted, don’t come over here’ face.”
Joe Buck shines bright light on Peyton’s darkest Super Bowl moment
As Week 13 came to a close with the New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game, FOX play-by-play announcer Joe Buck joined the ManningCast. Buck called in and used the opportunity to take a softball question from Peyton and hit a bomb out into left field.
Peyton: “Joe, you ever have a blowout where you wish you had a guest to interview?”
Joe: “Yeah, the last time I thought about it was when you played Seattle in the Super Bowl.”
Buck was referring to Super Bowl XLVIII when the Seattle Seahawks destroyed Manning’s Denver Broncos, 43-8. Peyton couldn’t help but laugh, doubling over with a drink in hand, clearly having fun with it. Naturally, Eli stepped in to tell Buck he went up a notch in his book.
Will ManningCast return for Cardinals vs. Rams on Monday Night Football?
It has not been announced if there will be a ManningCast during Monday’s game between the Cardinals and the Rams. Peyton and Eli signed on to broadcast ten games on ESPN2. To date, the ManningCast has had eight episodes. Meaning, they will have two more broadcasts over the season’s final four Monday night games.
On paper, Cardinals vs. Rams is a marquee matchup. It should certainly draw plenty of action for legal online sportsbooks in Arizona. However, there’s nothing we can do if the Cards game doesn’t line up with the Mannings’ schedules.
So let’s cross our fingers and hope that Peyton and Eli will grace our TV screens and join the Red Sea for this NFC West clash.