Manning-Cast Rises in the Ratings for Third Consecutive Week

Last week’s Peyton and Eli Manning’s alternative Monday Night Football broadcast rose 132% week-over-week with an average of 1.86 million viewers. With an increase that substantial, the Mannings left ESPN2’s ratings wiggle room to decline while staying impressive. Instead, Week 3’s Manning-cast of the Cowboys-Eagles matchup drew slightly more viewers than Week 2’s, at 1.89 million.

Meanwhile, the traditional broadcast on ESPN averaged 12.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched Week 3 MNF game since 2012.

Week 3 was Peyton and Eli’s best broadcast yet. And it’s not only thanks to Eli’s double bird that he inaccurately thought the production team could blur out. Of course, that helped and was the night’s best moment. Coming in at No. 2 was Peyton’s anger with Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy’s inexplicable clock management. Angry Peyton is the best Peyton — at least on TV, that is.

Peyton and Eli will work seven more games for ESPN this season and return in three weeks. Expect the fans to miss the Mannings in the meantime. That’s how much of a hit they are for ESPN. 

Moreover, it works well that ESPN offers the Mannings at the same time as its main booth because other viewers still want a traditional broadcast. Will Cain made that point Tuesday. The Manning-cast is so good that it is a show itself. At times, it’s even more entertaining than the game on the field. Meaning, if you are emotionally invested in the matchup, the alternative viewing is distracting.

Finally, ESPN made the right call not pairing Peyton and Eli with a studio host. They don’t need one. A host would only force an unneeded third voice. As great as the guests are, Peyton and Eli are at their best when it’s only the two of them.

All in all, I give the first three weeks of the Manning-cast an A. Comment below with your grade.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.


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  1. It was good, but they need to be in the same room. It’s fun having the guests, but there is too much Zoom pause for me.

    I agree with the sentiment that I like it for a game I’m not invested in (Saints), but having them in the same room would aid with the chemistry.

    More practice will also smooth this out. A good play-by-play is the translator for those who have never played/never went far with football. These two could develop that, but it will take time and practice. The Mannings seem to excel when they put their minds to something.

  2. Agree with the above. This week was the first I tried to watch (Cowboys fan) and it was too distracting. Problem is I do not watch MNF unless my team is in it. Maybe I will give them a try if a semi interesting game is on that I want to watch

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