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‘Monday Night Football’ just got a lot more interesting this season

“If you wanted Peyton Manning to one day call your Super Bowl, this is how you would start," New York Post columnist Andrew Marchand wrote.

Soon-to-be NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning will host a "Monday Night Football" MegaCast on ESPN2 for 10 games this season, alongside younger brother Eli Manning.
Soon-to-be NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning will host a "Monday Night Football" MegaCast on ESPN2 for 10 games this season, alongside younger brother Eli Manning.Read moreESPN Images

Peyton Manning will call an Eagles game this season. Sort-of.

ESPN announced Monday that Manning and younger brother Eli would cohost a Monday Night Football MegaCast on ESPN2 for 10 games a season. The alternative broadcast will debut the first three weeks this season, meaning Manning and crew will be on for Week 3 when the Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton Manning has been the most highly sought-after NFL analyst this side of Tony Romo, and there had been talk he might land at Amazon to call their Thursday Night Football package, potentially alongside current Sunday Night Football announcer Al Michaels. But ESPN’s move locks Manning up for the foreseeable future.

For now, the Mannings will be joined by a yet-to-be-announced group of celebrity guests and NFL players for a Zoom-style live chat during the game. Meanwhile, Monday Night Football announcers Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and former Eagles scout Louis Riddick will return to call the main broadcast on ESPN, as well sideline reporter and King of Prussia native Lisa Salters.

While Manning’s involvement will certainly draw in some fans, it seems more likely the deal is the next step in a potential long-term relationship, especially considering ABC (which like ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Company) will broadcast the Super Bowl in 2026 and 2030.

“If you wanted Peyton Manning to one day call your Super Bowl, this is how you would start. Build that relationship,” wrote the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.

With the broadcast expected to remain remote, the opportunity for wet willies between Peyton and Eli will be limited, unfortunately.

The Rock looks tiny next to Barkley and Shaq

The Rock is big. But not when he’s standing next to NBA stars.

During an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last week, the wrestling legend turned Hollywood Star (whose real name is Dwayne Johnson) appeared tiny in a photo standing next to NBA Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal.

“First of all, I didn’t have any shoes on,” Johnson joked to guest host Anthony Anderson. A screenshot of the photo quickly went viral on social media.

Johnson is no slouch at 6 feet, 4 inches. But Barkley is listed as 6-foot-6, and O’Neal towers over both at 7-1.

“You see these dudes — they’re like weekend warriors and you’re like, ‘Oh I could ball in the NBA.’ You get around real players and you recognize quickly just how big these guys are and how impressive these guys are,” Johnson said.

The photo brought to mind an equally hilarious shot of Arnold Schwarzenegger on the set of Conan the Destroyer alongside Sixers legend Wilt Chamberlain and wrestling star Andre the Giant.

Quick hits

  1. Michael Phelps, a 23-time Olympic gold medalist, will serve as a prime-time correspondent during NBC’s coverage of the 2020 games (yes, they’re still called that) in Tokyo. The announcement comes as at least 55 people linked to the Olympics — including some American athletes — have tested positive for COVID-19.

  2. The Ringer’s Bryan Curtis did the math, and ESPN’s halftime show during Game 4 of the NBA Finals discussed the actual game for less than one minute. Meanwhile, ESPN squeezed in 29 commercials between the second and third quarters.

  3. SNY Mets announcer Gary Cohen should begin a second career as a food critic after his takedown of Skyline Chili during Monday night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

  1. Inquirer columnist Marcus Hayes hopped on 94.1 WIP to discuss his scoop that nearly half of the Phillies roster remains unvaccinated. “Aaron Nola, as we know, is the poster boy for vaccine hesitancy,” Hayes told morning show host Angelo Cataldi. “This whole ‘I think I’m going to be weakened, therefore I might be injured, therefore I’m not going to take something that may weaken me for an indeterminate period of time’ is ridiculous because clearly COVID weakens you more if you get it.”

  2. Harrisburg native Lindsay Czarniak will host a daily Olympics show for NBC exclusively on women’s sports. On Her Turf at the Olympics will stream for free on NBC’s Peacock platform, with Czarniak joined by cohosts Lolo Jones (a former Olympian in track and bobsled) and MJ Acosta-Ruiz.

  3. Eagles commuters rejoice: The Carson Wentz banner on the side of Lincoln Financial Fiend was finally removed Monday. No word yet on what will replace it, but former Eagles defender turned WIP host Ike Reese had a suggestion a few weeks back.