When Peyton and Eli Manning have hosted their alternative “Monday Night Football” broadcast on ESPN2, there has been no shortage of a-list guests joining them to talk football.
In only three weeks of “MNF” duty — Weeks 1 through 3 before taking a break until Saints-Seahawks in Week 7 — the Mannings have chatted with current and past NFL stars, as well as other sporting legends. Russell Wilson, Travis Kelce and Matthew Stafford have gotten in on the fun. So have Ray Lewis and Brett Favre. Charles Barkley, LeBron James and Nick Saban also crossed over, showing just how strong the brothers’ star power draw is.
The bad news is everyone has missed the Mannings’ commentary badly for three weeks. The good news is, as their contract with ESPN calls for 10 “MNF” games this season, there will be 7 more Manning-casts over the final 11 “MNF” games of the 2021 NFL season. That means plenty of opportunity for intelligent, humorous and insightful banter between Peyton and Eli, along with a lot more celebrity guests.
With that mind, here’s the ultimate wishlist for whom we would like to see as the third Man(ning) or woman in the virtual booth. When some of our wishes are bound to come true, SN will cross them off the list:
“Beast Mode” is no-brainer for Week 7 in Seattle, given it’s a rematch of the “Beast Quake” playoff game. Plus, he doesn’t need to be there just not to be fined. He can have fun with his quirky smarts to give the Mannings an extra off-beat element that’s hard not to love.
Brady had a good record against Peyton in big games. Brady didn’t have the best record against Eli in big games. He still likes them both. He’s 100 percent stopping by when he will get the chance. Perhaps it will be Week 8, after Brady’s Buccaneers play the Saints on Halloween before a Week 9 bye.
Fo’ shizzle this would be amaze-balls. If he can hang with Martha Stewart and Dr. Dre, the Mannings should be somewhat the same, right? Snoop likes him some Steelers, who appear two times on “MNF”, in Weeks 9 and 17.
Chuck provided some chuckles in the first Manning-cast. Time to get Peyton’s Papa John’s buddy Shaq to drop by and deliver some Big Aristotle analysis of football.
Jason Sudeikis as ‘Ted Lasso’
Sudeikis appearing as his titular character from the Emmy-dominating comedy would be incredible. His folksy twang would fit right in with the Mannings. As Lasso might say, Lasso on the Manning-cast could be just like hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, because he could be their brother from another mother.
Montana is a naturally dry and funny guy and he can have more fun with the fact he has as many Super Bowl rings as the Mannings combined. There are multiple chances, between the Chiefs in Week 8 and the 49ers in Week 10.
She’s already proved she’s an awesome studio analyst for basketball. Oh yeah, she’s one of the greatest basketball players of all time and just won a WNBA championship with the Chicago Sky. The Bears play on “MNF” in Weeks 9 and 15.
If there’s any Southern-fried durable Hall of Fame quarterback who can match the Mannings’ gift for gab, he’s the guy. Plus Rivers talking to his 2004 first-round draftmate for a little while would give him a break from those never-ending paternal duties in retirement.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Do we need to explain this one? He would shoot the likeability factor of the Manning-cast through the roof.
Famous basketball-playing brother and son meets famous football-playing brothers and sons. Book it.
We picked this girl because we like her. Perry has still been the best guest ever on College GameDay. She could also be the best guest ever on the Manning-cast.
The Mannings can become a funkier bunch with this wicked smart, successful and talented guest.
Boom. The Mannings need to bring the “MNF” broadcasting and video-game legend on television again.
Jordan can remind the Mannings he has two more championships than they do combined. Plus, we need something else to compare him to LeBron James.
You cannot be serious. Yes we are. Wouldn’t you love to see him join the Mannings in breaking down a horrible call by an NFL official?
Barry Brackets would be a dream get, maybe for one of those Bears games.
George W. Bush
Former presidents with a good sense of humor are a great idea. Did you really think we like to play party favorites when it comes to the Mannings?
Alright, alright, alright — this has to happen in Week 12 when his favorite Washington Football Team hosts Seattle.
Samuel L. Jackson
He’s in everything else, so why not the Manning-cast too?
We’ve been waiting all day for her to be on “Monday Night,” too. She would be a prime-time light with the Mannings.
Sandler needs to be on there for sure. Bonus points should he appear in character as Bobby Boucher, the third most famous Louisiana-bred football player of all time.
Um, she’s friggin’ J-Lo. The Dolphins do appear on “MNF” in Week 16 and Miami fans might need her by then o brighten their spirits.
Pitt is tied to New Orleans, too, with his love of the Saints, who appear on “MNF” twice, in Weeks 7 and 16.
How do you like them apples? Fresh off “The Last Duel”, Week 13 Patriots vs. Bills would be an ideal spot.
Might as well bring in one more dude from “Ocean’s Eleven” to form the “Manning Three.” No Bengals on “MNF” hurt his chances.
Fox has got to let the fourth most famous Louisiana-bred football player of all time have one Manning cameo, right?
Manning and Paisley have some good chemistry on those Nationwide ads. He would be on his side when Eli makes fun of him again and again.
Where there’s Paisley with Manning, there also needs to be a Chesney.
Let’s a bring a little “Monday Night Raw” to the Mannings, shall we?
Is it too soon for him to do another Jon Gruden “MNF” impression for the Mannings?
Let’s have a feel-good story for when his beloved Bills take on the Patriots in Week 13, shall we?
We heard Cutler did get someone from ESPN in trouble. There’s no trouble here putting a wacky Vandy guy with a Vol and a Rebel. Did we mention the Bears play on “MNF” twice?
Here’s the obligatory mention of the one-time “Hard Knocks” narrator as the world’s biggest celebrity Chiefs fan who isn’t Pitt, Sudeikis, Rob Riggle, Eric Stonestreet, Melissa Etheridge or Henry Cavill because Kansas City appears in Week 8 against the Giants.
Sometimes, the third man(ning) needs to be the actual fourth Manning.
Sometimes, the third man(ning) needs to be the actual first Manning.
Sometimes, the third man(ning) needs to be the actual fifth Manning.