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Alternative Viewing

The Peyton and Eli Manning MNF broadcast was an electric factory and the only way we should be watching football going forward

September 14, 2021

In an age when content is king, it can often feel like there is quite literally too much of it. The alternate Peyton an Eli Manning Monday Night Football broadcast seemed to fit that mold, at least when it was originally announced as a viewing option.

Yet, after watching the Manning tag-team-cast in full for the opening MNF game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens, it's become quite clear that it's not only a great alternate viewing or second-screen option going forward, it might be the future of watching football and sports in general. Peyton and Eli were an absolute electric factory, and despite not being in the same room, they not only made it feel like they were in the same room but that you were there with them. It was as it was originally billed - two guys talkin' ball on the couch, albeit two guys who have a PhD in NFL quarterbacking. 

There were guests, too, including Charles Barkley and current Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, but the chemistry between Eli and Peyton made the guests unnecessary. It's almost like they are brothers, or something. Brothers with four Super Bowl rings between them and a wealth of knowledge from their combined 33 years under center. It was four hours of QB 101, with the perfect mix of humor and self-deprecation.

Some of the highlights:

-Right before the opening play, Peyton (I think jokingly) said this was going to tell him everything he needed to know about the Raiders season. Derek Carr dropped back and promptly missed tight end Darren Waller badly. Peyton buried them immediately:

-Early in the game, Peyton did a mock pre-snap routine as if he were Lamar Jackson. It was cool and all, but the internet cared much more about the Ravens helmet he had by his side barely fitting the top of his gigantic head:

Here was the actual, full clip of Peyton's mock pre-snap routine, which is incredible if you can ignore him looking like an absolute n00b in that helmet:

Peyton also put on the coach's visor, which fit a little better, for some high-quality X's and O's:

-Eli had more forehead daggers for Peyton, obviously:

-Guests wise, it went 1. Charles Barkley, 2. Ray Lewis, 3. Travis Kelce, 4. Russell Wilson. No disrespect to the other three, by Lewis was by far the best guest. The mutual respect these three have for each other was very evident, though the best part was the story about the time Lewis basically emasculated Eli during Eli's rookie season:

The football talk between this trio was must-see stuff, but Eli also checked in with one of the great questions in the history of the world:

This reads like something the internet made up in the hopes of duping everyone into believing it's real. Well, we're here to confirm that it is 1000-percent real. Unfortunately, I don't think Lewis ever gave an actual answer, so we'll never know. 

-The palpable anger from both Peyton and Eli when there was an offensive penalty, a poor playcall or just straight up bad coaching decisions was next-level stuff. EXACTLY the type of thing fans do at home but never hear on the actual broadcast. You could literally see the veins popping out of Peyton's head when there was a false start. Some guys retire and put their sport away forever, and some guys like Peyton and Eli are forever in quarterback mode. 

We could go all day with the highlights, but we'll stop there (the point: there were a LOT of highlights). As for lowlights, as much as we love Charles Barkley, I'm not sure how much he added to the broadcast as the first guest. Lewis, Kelce and Wilson were all excellent, however. Guests are fine, but hopefully they'll avoid the temptation to tag in celebrity fans or non-football people who can't hang with Peyton and Eli when it comes to talking football. There were also plenty of kinks that still need to be ironed out, like ESPN cutting to commercial a million times while Peyton or Eli were still breaking something down. Also, somebody hit the fire alarm wherever Eli was, which is the most Eli thing ever:

Other than the fire alarm and a few technical difficulties, there was a lot to like about the Peyton and Eli alt-cast, which returns next Monday night for the Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions game. Peyton and Eli watching Aaron Rodgers? Sign us up.