Watching Football With Mannings a Hit for ESPN

Super Bowl champ brothers drew almost 2M viewers
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 28, 2021 5:03 PM CDT
Millions Watched Mannings Watch Football Together
File photo of former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, right, speaking with younger brother New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning before an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants in 2018 in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

Some football fans need complete silence to enjoy the game. But for the people who think spending Sunday on the couch with friends and family hollering at the TV is perfect, the Manning brothers on ESPN2 was a delight. Peyton and Eli Manning, both two-time Super Bowl champions, watched the show together, with a few guests dropping in, and it was a huge hit. Eli dialed in from his house in New Jersey and Peyton watched the game from a friend’s warehouse outfitted with a TV studio in Denver, per USA Today. They've been on for two games so far, drawing positive reviews and almost 2 million viewers their second week.

The game was a blowout, with the Dallas Cowboys beating the Philadelphia Eagles 41-21, so the ex-QBs didn’t spend a lot of time paying close attention to the game. But there were some terrific moments for fans who flipped over from the main Monday Night Football broadcast. At one point, Peyton and Eli’s dad Archie Manning, also a former football star, sat down on the couch next to Eli. He told Peyton the boys’ mother said to get a clean shirt—Peyton nervously sniffed to see if he was serious—and muttered something about his eating habits.

Eli recounted a story about the Eagle’s famously contentious fans, saying he once got double middle fingers from a 9-year-old fan. He held up two fists, but Eli goaded him into actually demonstrating the gesture. "I’m sure you can blur that out," he said. Turns out the answer was no, and ESPN aired the whole exchange, for which Eli apologized. "I guess that’s frowned upon," he said. "It's what a 9-year-old did to me—I thought I could do it back."

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As far as actual game commentary, Peyton had an extremely relatable fan moment. Right before halftime, with the Cowboys up only 20-7, he hollered at the TV for Dallas coach Mike McCarthy to call a timeout. You can see video of it on Twitter. Eli scored a hilarious inside football dig when famed Alabama coach Nick Saban joined the broadcast. Saban had benched Eagles QB Jalen Hurts, who then transferred to the University of Oklahoma. "Great play by the Oklahoma quarterback right there in Jalen Hurts,” Eli said. LeBron James dropped in for a visit, too, relating a story about being courted by the Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks back in 2011, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The brothers ended the show by declaring they needed a break ("I'm getting Peyton overload," Eli said) but will return for the Saints-Seahawks Monday night game on Oct. 25. (More Monday Night Football stories.)

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