I have seen the future of “Monday Night Football,” and it is Manning.
If you didn’t check your local listings for the NFL’s Week 1 capstone between the Ravens and Raiders in Las Vegas – tuning in to ESPN by rote – then you missed the alternate simulcast on ESPN2, “Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli.”
Amazing – especially since the Silver and Black’s dramatic 33-27 overtime win didn’t require bells and whistles.
The retired quarterbacking legends and princes of the league’s royal family weren’t exactly on their basement couches, mainlining nachos or drinking the Bud Lights Peyton admittedly craved after Denver Broncos victories.
What they were doing was breathing new life into a staid medium.
► Humor? Check – Eli repeatedly giving his older brother the business, even asking if Peyton had sprayed Pam onto his shiny, prominent forehead. Peyton predicted a 6-11 season for the Raiders based purely on their game-opening incompletion. Sarcasm and self-deprecation were on display in roughly equal measure.
► Football vignettes? Yup – Peyton gleefully recounting a story of then-49ers coach Jim Harbaugh asking the wife of Manning confidant (and then-Duke coach) David Cutcliffe to make him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – to the apparent horror of everyone else in attendance that day – after Manning worked out for San Francisco during the 2012 offseason as he tried to decide which team to sign with following his departure from the Indianapolis Colts….