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Peyton and Eli Manning’s special guest during Eagles-Cowboys? Alabama’s Nick Saban

Saban coached Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts for three years at Alabama... before benching him.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban (right), seen here with then-Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts, will be a guest on ESPN's alternate "Monday Night Football" broadcast hosted by Peyton and Eli Manning.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban (right), seen here with then-Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts, will be a guest on ESPN's alternate "Monday Night Football" broadcast hosted by Peyton and Eli Manning.Read moreJohn Bazemore / AP Photo

It’s the third week that Peyton and Eli Manning are getting together to do their alternate Monday Night Football telecast, and they’ll have a guest who knows a lot about Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who coached Hurts during his three seasons with the Crimson Tide, will be a special guest during tonight’s Manningcast on ESPN2.

Saban has had nothing but praise about Hurts since the young quarterback was drafted by the Eagles in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, telling reporters last December he’s someone “really easy to fall in love with.”

“The guy’s got great character, he’s as fine a person as we’ve ever had in the program, he’s a very good leader, he’s a hard worker, he’s well-liked by his teammates, winning was important to him,” Saban told reporters. “He wanted to do whatever he had to do to try and help his team have a chance to win.”

Of course, Saban also benched Hurts at halftime during the 2018 national championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs, eventually leading the young quarterback to transfer to Oklahoma ahead of his senior year, where he thrived as a starter — passing for 3,851 years and 32 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“Jalen was always a great leader for our team,” Saban said. “Even when he first came here as a guy trying to get on the field and did it as a freshman. If you didn’t have the personality and the charisma that he has as a leader, I don’t think he would have been able to do that. Then to handle the situation that he was in later in his career showed tremendous class. He’s a great team guy. I think players really respect that.”

Saban will be one of four guests to join the Manning brothers’ broadcast, which drew an impressive 1.9 million viewers last week for Packers-Lions, up 138% from their Week 1 debut of about 800,000 viewers. The other three guests have yet to be named.

ESPN has said Peyton and Eli would do their alternate Monday Night Football telecast for 10 of the NFL’s 18 weeks, but so far haven’t announced the next game the two former quarterbacks will call.

Here’s ESPN’s Monday Night Football schedule for the next five weeks:

  1. Week 4, Oct. 4: Raiders at Chargers

  2. Week 5, Oct. 11: Colts at Ravens

  3. Week 6, Oct. 18: Bills at Titans

  4. Week 7, Oct. 25: Saints at Seahawks

  5. Week 8, Nov. 1: Giants at Chiefs

» READ MORE: Peyton Manning accuses Patriots of cheating, something Eagles fans know all about

YouTube TV customers could lose NBC Sports Philadelphia in carriage dispute

Could YouTube TV subscribers lose NBC Sports Philadelphia just as the Sixers and Flyers seasons are about to start?

A deal between YouTubeTV and NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, is set to expire on Thursday. According to Variety, Google has been unwilling to pay more to keep NBC and its networks, which also includes MSNBC, Bravo, and CNBC. NBC also reportedly wants YouTube TV to bundle NBC’s Peacock streaming service.

On Sunday, NBC upped the stakes by going after YouTubeTV with a series of posts on Twitter and a banner that ran across the screen during the Packers-49ers game.

In a statement, Google said it would renew its deal with NBC if the network offered “equitable terms.” Otherwise, it plans to lower YouTube TV’s price by $10 a month (down to $54.99 a month) if NBC decides to bail.

It’s hard to imagine Google allowing NBC to leave its service for an extended length of time, but so far both companies are stuck in a game of chicken. The Sixers preseason begins Oct. 4, while the team’s regular season tips off Oct. 20. The Flyers season is scheduled to begin Oct. 15.

» READ MORE: Kate Scott to call Sixers games on NBC Sports Philadelphia, replacing Marc Zumoff

Quick hits

  1. NBC announcer Al Michaels seemed to be channeling his own situation when he discussed veteran quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo being pressured by younger quarterbacks waiting on the bench, who may take over “sooner rather than later.” Michaels, 76, is in the final year of his contract with NBC that will end with him calling the Super Bowl, and the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand has reported it’s expected NBC will move him out of the Sunday Night Football booth in favor of Mike Tirico.

  1. During its nationally broadcast Sunday afternoon game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams, Fox lowered its scoreboard so it would be obstructed for viewers of NFL Network’s popular RedZone channel (to get them to switch to Fox). The NFL Network responded by simply adding their own scorebug.

  1. Though he’s not yet been able to call a major game, Gus Johnson has been a breath of fresh air in the NFL booth this season for Fox alongside Aqib Talib. Here’s Johnson’s enthusiastic call of Jacksonville’s record-breaking 109-yard return for a touchdown off a missed field goal against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday:

  1. Flyers fans will get their first look at how TNT will handle the NHL Thursday night, when the network airs the team’s second preseason game against the Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m. Calling the game will be Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Keith Jones.

  2. John Oliver has some fun with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith during Sunday’s Last Week Tonight on HBO.