"At the start, Peyton started talking at a million miles a minute, as if he were paid by the word, which still might be a cut from the God knows how many millions ESPN is direct-depositing him to do these jazzed up Zooms with his brother for 10 MNF games," says Andrew Marchand. "It was tough at the start. As the show went on, when Peyton and Eli focused more on the intricacies of the game — and not the Mannings nostalgia show — it got better. We want to hear their football genius. ESPN realized it, too. By halftime, ESPN’s senior VP of production, Lee Fitting, suggested to the Mannings to focus more on football. Peyton, we were told, was receptive. This was the right call...The Mannings and ESPN agreed the show did not need a host. It is not easy to quarterback a TV show. Early, the program needed someone to calm things down, ask some follow-ups questions so we could understand Peyton’s beautiful football mind. It needed to be looser. And it became a little more that way when America’s guest, Charles Barkley showed up at the end of the first quarter. Barkley is probably the best studio analyst ever in part because of his most un-Manning quality — his willingness to say whatever he really thinks." ALSO: A fire alarm went off during the Mannings' first broadcast.
TOPICS: Peyton Manning, ESPN, Monday Night Football, Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli, Eli Manning, NFL