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Peyton and Eli Manning skipping ‘Monday Night Football’ this week after their curse claimed another NFL player

Superstitious NFL players might want to turn down an invitation to the Manning brothers’ alternate telecast for ESPN.

Peyton Manning and his brother Eli won't be doing their "Monday Night Football" alternate telecast for Bears-Steelers on Nov. 8.
Peyton Manning and his brother Eli won't be doing their "Monday Night Football" alternate telecast for Bears-Steelers on Nov. 8.Read moreESPN Images

It looks like the Madden Curse has some competition, thanks to Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and his younger brother, Eli.

Since the launch of their Monday Night Football alternate telecast this season on ESPN2, the Manning brothers have featured six current NFL players as guests. In every case, that player and his team have gone on to lose the following week — a notable streak in a league that’s often a prisoner to superstition.

The most recent victim was Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who was on an MVP pace before jumping on the Manningcast last week to discuss Chiefs-Giants. Six days later, he committed three turnovers in the Bills’ ugly 9-6 loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.

The week before, Tom Brady yucked it up with the Mannings, joking about Peyton’s tight clothes and his inability to defeat Eli. Fast-forward to Sunday, and Brady threw a game-sealing pick-six to safety P.J. Williams in the Buccaneers’ loss to the New Orleans Saints.

You could also argue that the Manning curse extended to the Eagles, who lost a close game to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday after head coach Nick Sirianni reportedly used some footage of Peyton (including his appearance on Saturday Night Live) to motivate the team last week.

Here’s a list of current NFL players who have been guests on the Manningcast, along with their subsequent losses.

Week 1
Chiefs TE Jason Kelce
Following game
Ravens 36, Chiefs 35
Week 1
Seahawks QB Russel Wilson
Following game
Titans 33, Seahawks 30
Week 2
Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski
Following game
Rams 34, Buccaneers 24
Week 3
Rams QB Matt Stafford
Following game
Cardinals 37, Rams 20
Week 7
Buccaneers QB Tom Brady
Following game
Saints 36, Buccaneers 27
Week 8
Bills QB Josh Allen
Following game
Jaguars 9, Bills 6

There won’t be a Manningcast tonight for the matchup between the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. Peyton and Eli are only calling 10 games this season, and have already done five, including the Eagles’ Week 3 blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Thankfully, the Mannings aren’t taking three weeks off again like they did earlier this season. The duo will return in Week 10 on Nov. 15 when the Los Angeles Rams take on the San Francisco 49ers.

» READ MORE: Chargers’ Justin Herbert becomes latest QB to torch Jonathan Gannon’s Eagles defense

We might get our first ‘Sunday Night Football’ flex in a couple of weeks

We’re still a few weeks away from any announcement, but NBC might have a flex option for Sunday Night Football coming up.

The San Francisco 49ers are scheduled to take on the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL’s top primetime slot in Week 13 on Dec. 5. They both occupy the bottom of the NFC West at 3-5, and the 49ers looked particularly terrible Sunday, losing badly at home against an injury-depleted Arizona Cardinals.

The Seahawks should get quarterback Russell Wilson back before Week 13, but they have a tough schedule ahead, facing the Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers back-to-back.

So what games could the NFL turn to? Assuming Fox only choses to protect one of these games, Broncos-Chiefs or Buccaneers-Falcons seem like the top choices, with the league leaping at any chance to shine the spotlight on Patrick Mahomes or Brady. Chargers-Bengals could also be an intriguing option, with both teams over .500 and fighting for potential playoff spots.

Ravens-Steelers could also be a good choice, though CBS has likely protected that game and Baltimore is scheduled on Sunday Night Football the week before. The NFL definitely won’t be turning to Eagles-Jets to win over a primetime audience.

Last season, the NFL flexed out of two scheduled Sunday Night Football games. Since its inception in 2006, the league has flexed 26 primetime games.

The NFL wouldn’t have to announce the move until Nov. 24, 12 days ahead of the game. Here’s the remaining Sunday Night Football schedule, and each team’s current record:

  1. Week 10, Nov. 14: Kansas City Chiefs (5-4) at Las Vegas Raiders (5-3)

  2. Week 11, Nov. 21: Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (5-3)

  3. Week 12, Nov. 25 (Thanksgiving): Buffalo Bills (5-3) at New Orleans Saints (5-3)

  4. Week 12, Nov. 28: Cleveland Browns (5-4) at Baltimore Ravens (6-2)

  5. Week 13, Dec. 5: San Francisco 49ers (3-5) at Seattle Seahawks (3-5)

  6. Week 14, Dec. 12: Chicago Bears (3-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)

  7. Week 15, Dec. 19: New Orleans Saints (5-3) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2)

  8. Week 16, Dec. 26: Washington Football Team (2-6) at Dallas Cowboys (6-2)

  9. Week 17, Jan. 2: Minnesota Vikings (3-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-2)

  10. Week 18, Jan 9: Unscheduled

Quick hits

  1. Al Michaels is one of the best play-by-play announcers in sports history, so he must have been dying a little inside Sunday while he read this promo involving Paris Hilton and her tenuous connection to the NFL (Hilton’s show Paris in Love streams this week on NBC’s Peacock). Maybe he can skip promos like this next year if he ends up on Amazon calling Thursday Night Football games.

  1. MLB announced its Gold Glove winners last night on ESPN, with five St. Louis Cardinals players awarded the fielding prize — the most from a single team in the same season. The obvious question is why MLB decided to make the announcement during Sunday Night Football, when it would clearly get overlooked.

  2. Most NFL pregame shows offer little more than jokes and heavy cheerleading for the league. So it was refreshing to see longtime Fox Sports personality Terry Bradshaw unloading on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers for lying about his COVID-19 vaccine status. Coincidentally, Bradshaw stars in a new State Farm commercial while the company remains quiet about the controversy surrounding Rodgers.

  1. Kudos to the Fox production crew covering Packers-Chiefs, who somehow found the mother and girlfriend of Packers quarterback Jordan Love stuck in the last row of the nosebleed section of Arrowhead Stadium. It was Love’s first NFL start, and on Friday he told reporters that his mother had never missed a game. It’s unclear if the Chiefs provided lousy seats, or if the Packers used those tickers for other players.

  1. Former Eagles running back Darren Sproles was at Chickie’s & Pete’s on Sunday to promote the Hulu premiere of Maybe This Year, a documentary about the Birds’ improbable 2018 Super Bowl victory. It’s the perfect tonic for Eagles fans following a tough loss.