The 8 Best 'ManningCast' Moments

Peyton and Eli Manning have often stolen the spotlight on ESPN2's alternate "Monday Night Football" broadcast. Here are the 8 best moments from the program.

Peyton Manning Kevin Hart Eli Manning ESPN2 2021 ManningCast

Peyton Manning Kevin Hart Eli Manning ESPN2 2021 ManningCast

Peyton Manning Kevin Hart Eli Manning ESPN2 2021 ManningCast

Traditional sports TV is dead.

Seriously—how many people still watch highlights in the old-school SportsCenter format? Social media has obliterated the tried-and-true formula for success. 

ESPN is well aware of the need for change. That’s why the Disney-owned sports behemoth has experimented with programming in recent years. That experimentation hasn’t been limited to studio shows, either—it’s included tinkering with live broadcasts.

For example, in July ESPN announced it had partnered with the two youngest Manning brothers—NFL legends Peyton and Eli—to feature their live commentary over 10 Monday Night Football games per season in 2021, 2022, and 2023. These wouldn’t be stuffy broadcasts with the bros sporting suits and ties in the booth. Instead, the former QBs would join remotely and interview other prominent figures in a casual setting during the show.

Given the Mannings’ lighthearted personalities, fans had a feeling this would be must-see TV. And indeed it has been. With ESPN’s experiment an overwhelming hit, and soon coming to end with the regular-season reaching the stretch run, check out our eight favorite moments from the ManningCast so far.

Eli Grills Tom Brady About Peyton’s Perspiration

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The Mannings have had consistently tremendous guests on the show, because who doesn’t love those guys? In fact, even their former rivals have popped up from time to time.

For example, during an Oct. 25 Saints-Seahawks game (which was relevant and consequential at the time), TB12 himself dropped by. During their interview, Eli asked Brady about a photo from Peyton’s Hall of Fame enshrinement this past August which Brady looked like a cool cucumber, but Peyton was absolutely soaked with sweat.

True to form, Brady handled the moment with grace, explaining that he’d just been lucky to chill in a cooler environment, and adding how much he enjoyed being there to celebrate Peyton.

“That was actually an amazing thing to be a part of,” Brady said.

Kevin Hart Roasts Eli’s Face

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Everyone knew Kevin Hart’s appearance on the ManningCast would be great. When the superstar comedian joined the broadcast, their interview featured a flashback to Hart’s “Cold as Balls” conversation with Odell Beckham Jr.

In that cold-tub conversation, Hart asked OBJ, “Eli, what’s wrong with his face?” and proceeded to perfectly imitate Eli’s trademark stare. 

“Peyton, I’m not asking the questions that I want to know,” Hart explained to the Mannings. “I’m asking the questions that people want to know...there are times that Eli has had the face of gas...he’s got an ‘I just pooted, don’t come over here’ face.”

Lefty Calls Eli’s Golf Swing ‘Cute’

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Phil Mickelson has a lot of admirers in the NFL, including Bills QB Josh Allen, who dressed up as Lefty for Halloween this year (and is featured later on this list).

Given the Mannings’ love for golf, it made sense to have Mickelson on one of their broadcasts. He joined during Week 10’s Rams-49ers game.

At one point in the appearance, Peyton asked Mickelson to analyze Eli’s golf swing as they watched footage of Eli taking some cuts in a simulator.

“Overall, one word to describe it is ‘cute,’” Mickelson said. “I think it’s a cute little’s a pretty good golf swing. Like I said, it’s cute, but it could be better.”

Nick Saban’s Evaluation of Eli’s Tubing: ‘Very Average’

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Iconic Alabama coach Nick Saban squared off with Eli in college, when Eli was at Ole Miss and Saban held the reins at LSU. Saban joined the ManningCast in Week 3, when his former Alabama QB Jalen Hurts led the Eagles against their NFC East rival, the Cowboys.

During the interview, Peyton asked Saban about a memorable adventure with Eli, when Saban took the former Giants QB out for a tubing expedition as part of an episode of “Eli’s Places.” So, Peyton asked, how would you evaluate Eli’s athletic ability based on his tubing?

“I will say that it was very average athletic ability,” Saban explained. “Very average AA. He didn’t last very long.”

Bill Parcells Couldn’t Handle Turnover-Prone Rookie Peyton

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In Week 11, Peyton’s former nemesis, Tom Brady, led the Bucs against Eli’s old team, the Giants. Legendary retired NFL coach Bill Parcells joined the show, and a funny moment resulted when Eli asked him about what could’ve been if Parcells had drafted Peyton.

See, back in 1997, Parcells was the Jets’ head coach, and his squad had the No. 1 pick. Peyton considered entering that draft, but ultimately returned to Tennessee for his senior season. So, Eli asked, would Parcells have drafted Peyton? And how would he have coped with the 28 picks Peyton eventually tossed as a rookie?

“We definitely would’ve drafted him, but I would’ve probably cut my throat at about No. 15, so I wouldn’t have seen those additional 13,” Parcells said.

Gronk Admits He Doesn’t Watch Film

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Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski had a number of epic battles with the Mannings over the years—including, of course, a Super Bowl loss with the Patriots to Eli and the Giants in 2012.

His guest spot on the ManningCast resulted in a ton of memorable moments. Perhaps most hilarious? When the future Hall of Fame owned up to never watching film.

“My teammate Cam Brate just asked me the other day—he goes, ‘Rob, I have a serious question. Do you ever watch film?’” Gronk said. “And I said no, I don’t. I just run by guys. And if I’m feeling good, I’m feeling good.”

Gronkowski later had to clarify that he was, in fact, just joking about not watching film. He watches. A lot

Beast Mode's 'Three-Shot Minimum' of Henny

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Marshawn Lynch dropped by to commentate as his former team, Seattle, played the Saints. Right off the bat, it was clear this would be an amazing interview.

Eli reminded Beast Mode about his former tradition of taking 1.5 shots of Hennessy pregame, asking if Lynch had done anything like that to get ready for his big ManningCast appearance. As fate would have it, Lynch had taken his ritual up a notch.

“I ain’t playing, so I had a three-shot minimum today,” Lynch said. “So I’m feeling real good. So I took one for me. I took one for big bruh. And I got one for lil’ bruh.”

Mannings Moan About Star QBs Draining Their Beer Supply

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Josh Allen joined the show while one of the Bills’ main AFC rivals, the Chiefs, took on the Giants. In Allen’s conversation with the Mannings, Peyton referenced some time his family had spent with Allen—as well as some of the most prominent Chiefs—during the Masters.

Peyton explained that the get-together was a good time...aside from the fact that the AFC stars (Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Travis Kelce) had drained the Manning family’s beer supply.

“Josh, you mentioned Patrick Mahomes. You guys kind of hung out with my family at the Masters this past April,” Peyton said. “It was cool that you took pictures with our kids. What wasn’t cool was that you drank all the beer at our party...I had to make like three beer runs because I didn’t want to disappoint the two best QBs in the league.”

As Allen explained, that’s what the Mannings got for loading up on Labatt Blue Lights—a favorite in Buffalo.

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