Peyton and Eli Manning captivated Monday Night Football viewers for many years with their on-field play.
These days, the former Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are still starring on Monday nights, but this time, they are in the broadcast booth.
The ManningCast, an Emmy award-winning alternate telecast of Monday Night Football produced by Peyton’s sports media company Omaha Productions, is in its third season and remains the most popular alternate telecast. Each week, high-profile guests from across the sports and entertainment world provide commentary on the game. The first two seasons featured A-List celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg,, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Will Ferrell, Barack Obama, Snoop Dogg, and Robin Roberts.
This season, the ManningCast is averaging between one and two million viewers each week, with an average viewer six years younger than Monday Night Football’s typical audience. This year’s broadcasts featured no shortage of memorable moments. Below, we’ll look back on some of the most entertaining.
All eyes were on MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford for Aaron Rodgers’ regular season debut with the Jets in their Week One Monday Night matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Although Rodgers left the game with an injury after only four snaps, Peyton and Eli still had plenty to discuss – especially when tennis legend John McEnroe joined the broadcast during the second quarter.
McEnroe asked Peyton to address a rumor that he used to sing “Warrior” by Patty Smyth on his way to school as a way of pumping himself up. Eli confirmed it was true, and Peyton proceeded to provide a demonstration, singing a few lines from the song originally performed by McEnroe’s wife.
The Seattle Seahawks traveled to East Rutherford to take on the New York Giants on Monday, October 2nd, to wrap up Week Four. However, for several minutes at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, the action in the broadcast booth stole the show.
Four-time Emmy-award winning actor Will Ferrell joined the Manning brothers to discuss Eli’s impression of Chazz Reinhold (Ferrell’s character in the 2005 film Wedding Crashers) and to inquire how close Peyton was to joining the Seattle Seahawks during his free agency in 2012. At one point during the broadcast, Ferrell offered his own play call that left the Manning brothers in tears. “East ripe flop. V right all the way outside. Y left fake 396. V hinge Z puck. And make it slippy,” Ferrell quipped.
On another occasion, Ferrell jumped at an opportunity to take a light-hearted jab at the Manning brothers. “When I drew up my career playbook of highlights, it was to be on an alternative broadcast on a much less viewed channel than the main channel,” Ferrell teased.
During the Week Five Monday night game between the Green Bay Packers and the Las Vegas Raiders, late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel joined the Mannings and asked a question that incited some hilarious banter between the brothers: “Serious question, which of you loves the other more?”
Peyton hardly hesitated before he stated that Eli loved him more and claimed that it had to do with all Peyton had done for Eli when they were children. His younger brother quickly clapped back, claiming that Peyton bullied him by making him run routes and throwing the ball too hard.
Week Five also featured a new face on the Manning’s Prediction Board, a lifetime enshrinement reserved for guests who make a correct prediction on air. The prediction belonged to Desmond Howard, but since he already held a spot on the board from a previous guest spot, Eli had another face ready to add to the board: an enlarged Fathead of his brother, Peyton, featuring an especially large forehead. Although Peyton wasn’t pleased with Eli’s ribbing, Howard was cracking up for several seconds.
The Jets were back in primetime on November 6th for a Monday night showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers, and the stars were ready to shine on the ManningCast. Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the Mannings during the first quarter and earned a spot on the Perfect Prediction Panel after accurately foreshadowing an Austin Ekeler touchdown.
Later in the broadcast, Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence made an appearance and shared that he wore Number 16 in high school to pay homage to Peyton Manning, who wore 16 during his playing days at Tennessee. Eli then joked that Lawrence should also consider a haircut to further commemorate his older brother.
Fresh off his second MVP and Super Bowl championship, Patrick Mahomes made his first appearance on the ManningCast as his division-rival Denver Broncos traveled to Orchard Park to take on the Buffalo Bills. Mahomes admitted that he wears the same underwear for each game and offered some “clarity” on what he said to Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby during a famously profane and heated moment in a viral clip from an October 2022 game.
“You woke up the wrong gentleman,” Mahomes joked. “It was gentleman.”
Of course, the clip in question was shown in its entirety during Netflix’s Quarterback documentary earlier this year. The show, which was produced by Peyton’s Omaha Productions and starred Patrick Mahomes, didn’t censor Mahomes’ comments, and viewers will know that “gentleman” was not Mahomes’ word of choice in this particular moment.
Mahomes was also enshrined on the Perfect Prediction Panel after predicting a play action touchdown and accurately calling the two preceding run plays.
One week after appearing on the ManningCast, Patrick Mahomes was back on the field on Monday night for a rematch of Super Bowl LVII in Kansas City. Meanwhile, on the broadcast, Iowa basketball superstar Caitlin Clark became the first college athlete to make an appearance on ManningCast. Arguably the best current player in women’s college hoops, Clark spent most of the second quarter chatting with the Manning brothers about topics ranging from her football fandom to her nationally ranked team at Iowa.
Later in the telecast, acclaimed actor Mark Wahlberg joined the Manning brothers to reflect on his Boston fandom and to lament Super Bowl XLII, a game where Eli Manning led the New York Giants to victory over Wahlberg’s beloved Patriots, who at the time were 18-0 and looking to join the 1974 Miami Dolphins as only the second undefeated team in NFL history.
The Cincinnati Bengals evened their record at six wins and six losses with a narrow victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 4th. However, one of the biggest talking points after the game had nothing to do with the on-field play.
Midway through the second quarter, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa joined the ManningCast and played “Tears in Heaven” on his acoustic guitar as Peyton sang along with improvised lyrics. Although Manning’s vocals left much to be desired, Tua’s musical talent and affinity were apparent.
It’s easy to see why the ManningCast has quickly become a fan favorite. What many people may not know is how the ManningCast – and its parent company, Omaha Productions, came to be.
As the cohosts of the ManningCast and former All-Pro NFL quarterbacks, Peyton and Eli are easy to recognize. However, Omaha President Jamie Horowitz plays a major role behind the scenes to drive the success of the innovative sports media company.
Before working with the Mannings, Horowitz was instrumental in the rise of several top sports media personalities, including Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe, and Colin Cowherd. He spent many years working as an executive with ESPN and Fox Sports, and was the leader in both creating and producing opinion-based programming on sports networks.
In 2020, Jamie Horowitz traveled to Denver with Josh Pyatt to pitch Peyton Manning on the vision for the company that would eventually become Omaha Productions. Although Manning had been involved in several professional projects since ending his NFL playing days, he hadn’t landed anywhere permanently.
Omaha Productions has achieved remarkable growth in three years, now boasting a valuation exceeding $400 million and employing a dedicated team of over 40 individuals. Beyond the much-acclaimed ManningCast, Omaha Productions has diversified its portfolio, producing popular series such as Eli’s Places on ESPN+ and the hit Netflix docuseries Quarterback
The ManningCast returns for its final episode of the season on Jan 13.