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Peyton and Eli Manning skipping ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ tonight, but they’ll be back soon

Peyton and Eli haven't offered their alternate broadcast on ESPN since the Eagles lost in a blowout to the Cowboys in Week 3.

Peyton Manning calling the Eagles loss to the Cowboys in Week 3 on "Monday Night Football" along with his brother, Eli.
Peyton Manning calling the Eagles loss to the Cowboys in Week 3 on "Monday Night Football" along with his brother, Eli.Read moreESPN Images

Looking to watch the “Manning MegaCast” tonight when the Buffalo Bills face the Tennessee Titans on ESPN’s Monday Night Football? Sorry, you’re out of luck.

For the third straight week, the Peyton and Eli won’t host their popular Monday Night Football feed on ESPN2, where they offer expert analysis of the games while mocking one another and flipping the bird on national television.

Peyton is still a bit shocked by Eli’s two-gun salute during the Eagles Week 3 blowout loss to the Cowboys, a reenactment of what a 9-year-old Eagles fan supposedly flashed him during his playing days.

“I’ve heard Eli tell that story a hundred times in front of various audiences, and I was never once concerned he was actually going to do it,” Peyton told TMZ. “Of all the times to actually do it, I was really in shock about it,”

“He felt bad and he apologized,” Peyton added. “It was not intentional but it was just funny that was the one time he picked to do it.”

The good news for fans is this is the final week of the Mannings’ sabbatical. They’ll return to ESPN2 to call next week’s Week 7 matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks. They’ll also stick around the following week so Eli can talk as his former team, the New York Giants, takes on the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 1.

It’s unclear which games the Mannings will call after that. ESPN has said the duo would call 10 games, and after Giants-Chiefs they’ll have five more over 10 weeks. They’ll also be calling this year’s final wild card game during the playoffs, which will air on a Monday night this year.

ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said recently on The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that it was always the plan for the Mannings not to call every week, due to their busy schedules. But with ratings and buzz about their broadcast on the rise, Pitaro is bound to push them to call more games next year, and perhaps a full season.

“I’d be crazy to say we’re not interested in doing more with them,” Pitaro said. “Once we’re through this season, we will sit down and evaluate, and a lot of that’s going to be up to them and what they want to do.”

» READ MORE: Eagles should bench Jalen Hurts | Marcus Hayes

Tony Romo brings up John Madden’s mistake

CBS analyst and former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has often cited legendary broadcaster John Madden as one of the best ever. So why did he spotlight one of Madden’s mistakes during Sunday’s Cowboys-Patriots broadcast?

With the game heading into overtime, head coach Bill Belichick ran out the clock rather than let rookie quarterback Mac Jones attempt to drive the team into field goal range. That’s when Romo brought up Madden’s call of the end of Super Bowl XXXVI. In that game, Madden said Tom Brady and the Patriots should run out the clock. Instead, Brady drove his team to a game-winning field goal with no time remaining against the then-St. Louis Rams.

“You just never know with a young quarterback. No one better than Madden, but when he says, ’Well, he’s young and blah blah,’ you never know when a guy ends up becoming someone like that,” Romo said to a silent Jim Nantz.

It was a good analogy by Romo — we know as much about Jones now as we did about Brady then — but he undersold Madden’s call during the final moments of that Super Bowl.

The Patriots had the ball at their own 17 yard line with 1:21 left and no timeouts. The game was tied, and Madden famously disagreed with the Patriots’ decision not to play for overtime due to the chances of the Rams getting the ball back with terrific field position.

“I don’t agree with what the Patriots are doing right here,” Madden said during the broadcast. “I would play for overtime. If I had good field position I wouldn’t, but in this field position I would play for overtime.”

Of course, who knew then that Brady — in his first year as a starter playing in his first Super Bowl — would end up becoming one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the league. It was also a different era of football, when the balance between offense and defense was a lot closer than it is today. Plus, the 2002 Rams were called “The Greatest Show on Turf” for a reason — their high-powered offense could score at just about any time.

But Brady calmly and coolly drove the Patriots down the field, and kicker Adam Vinatieri won the Super Bowl with his 48-yard field goal as time expired.

Unlike many broadcasters, Madden returned to his opinion just before Vinatieri made the game-winning kick, noting he still would’ve played for overtime but was amazed by guts the Patriots showed going for it.

“I’ll tell you, what Tom Brady just did gives me goosebumps,” Madden said.

Quick hits

  1. MLB is considering launching a streaming service that would allow fans to watch-in-market games without a cable subscription, according to the New York Post’s John Kosman. The service could launch as soon as the 2023 season, the Post reports. MLB did not immediately responded to a request for comment, and NBC Sports Philadelphia declined to comment.

  2. ESPN sideline reporter Allison Williams announced over the weekend she was leaving the company due to Disney’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Williams cited her desire to have a second child, but according to the CDC, “Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men.”

  3. FOX’s Charissa Thompson poked fun at Chris Meyer’s dancing abilities during Sunday’s Bengals-Lions game.

  1. 6abc reporter Beccah Hendrickson was outside the Sixers practice facility in Camden to do a report on Ben Simmons Sunday when her cameraperson happened to capture the missing All-Star driving up. Simmons practiced with the team, his first activity with the Sixers since the team’s Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs in June.

  1. Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano did his best David Copperfield impersonation Saturday. So did the team, which lost to Northwestern in a debacle of a game filled with bad penalties, missed tackles, and a coach getting flagged for sideline interference.