HOLLYWOOD – ESPN apparently is trying to convince Peyton Manning to join the “Monday Night Football” broadcast team.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed Monday that ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro and content chief Connor Schell flew to Denver a week ago to meet with the future Hall of Fame quarterback. It’s unclear if Manning, who retired after leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl win in 2016, is interested in assuming the analyst role.
This is believed to be at least the second overture the network has made to Manning, 42.
Once Jon Gruden announced last winter that he was leaving the broadcast booth to return to coaching, ESPN reportedly reached out to Manning before hiring Jason Witten. After being criticized for his performance as an analyst, Witten decided to return to the Dallas Cowboys and reclaim his tight end position.
Manning is well-known to television audiences for his endeavors off the field, working as a pitchman for insurance, pizza and credit cards. He also has done some work for ESPN, analyzing quarterbacks for ESPN+.
If Manning declines to join ESPN, the network likely will go with a team of play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and analyst Booger McFarland, according to author Jim Miller, who wrote a book about the network.
“They’re going to have a two-man booth unless somehow Peyton changes his mind,” Miller said earlier this month on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. “They have a relationship with Peyton because of the ESPN+ show right now and Peyton has thought about this, but if you’re Peyton, what’s the upside?”
“I believe from everything I’ve heard it’s going to be the two of them (Tessitore and McFarland) and the only third possibility would be Peyton. Peyton is the only reason to pull up a third chair. If they start auditioning people and bringing somebody else in as a third that isn’t Peyton, I’d be surprised and I’d ask, why?”
–Field Level Media