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Networks reportedly are willing to pay Peyton Manning $10 million a year to call NFL games.

By Jimmy Traina
March 08, 2018

1. I don’t get the fascination networks have with Peyton Manning calling NFL games.

A new report says ESPN and FOX are willing to pay the future Hall of Famer $10 million a year to be an analyst.

ESPN needs someone for Monday Night Football, while FOX has to fill a booth for its new Thursday night package.

I understand the appeal of Manning since he’s one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and many people find him funny. That does not mean he will be a good broadcaster.

A few things to keep in mind: A lot of people bring up Manning’s performances hosting Saturday Night Live and the ESPYs as well as his six billion commercials when citing his humor. Guess what? All of those things had writers. Manning just read someone else’s lines. When you’re calling a football game, it’s on you to come up with the material for three-plus hours. I'm not saying Manning can't do it. I'm saying nobody knows for sure if he can.

It also feels like ESPN and FOX saw the success CBS had with Tony Romo last season and they want in on that good publicity any way they can get it. Sports broadcasting is a huge copycat industry, so don't think for a second Romo isn't on the brains of every ESPN and FOX exec. Of course, those same execs quickly forget all the big names and supposed slam dunks who went into broadcasting and flopped. You can go back to Joe Montana if you want to find a great QB who was a bust on TV. Or you can rewind just one year and remember the buzz around Rex Ryan joining ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown. How'd that work out? The show took a massive ratings hit.

The point is, you never know who will resonate with viewers and who won't. To invest $10 million in one person to call about 16 games a year seems like insanity from a business standpoint. If the games are good, people will watch. If the games are bad, it doesn't matter who is in the booth. You'd think ESPN would've learned this lesson after paying Jon Gruden $6.5 million a year to call Monday Night Football. The network's slate of games often stunk and the ratings showed that. Meanwhile, FOX could get way more buzz and positive press if it announced it was sliding Gus Johnson into the play-by-play role for its Thursday game, but, instead, it is fixated on Manning.

And just to be clear, I couldn't care less if ESPN or FOX wastes $10 million on an NFL analyst and I wouldn't begrudge Manning at all if he can get that from a network. The man should get whatever the market dictates. But as a football fan and media observer, it seems obvious neither network would ever get the bang for its buck on that investment.

2. With the Sixers at 35–28 and in position to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season, one fan has put together a mashup of all the sports TV hot takers who did not trust the process.

3. Baseball needs more feuds like this. After striking out Shohei Ohtani yesterday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw did some light trash talking.

Kershaw was referring to the fact that Ohtani picked the Angels over the Dodgers, even after Kershaw spent his wedding annniversary meeting with Ohtani to convince him to sign with the Dodgers. Here is a good summary of the beef Dodgers players have with Ohtani's antics during that process.

4. As a Yankees fan, this is a great day because Aaron Judge said he'll never participate in another useless Home Run Derby.

5. Jimmy Fallon's recurring "Ew" sketch is usually pretty hard to take, but that wasn't the case last night thanks to John Cena.


6. With Ichiro back in Seattle, let's remember the time he told Bob Costas about his favorite English phrase.

7. RANDOM WRESTLING VIDEO OF THE DAY: Mr. Perfect Curt Henning + one of the best hitters in MLB history.

Traina Thoughts is the best of the Internet, plus musings by writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts right here. And check out Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast, "Off The Board."

IN CLOSING: After LSU running back Derrius Guice is drafted, he should name the the scout who asked him at the combine if he likes men and that scout should be fired. That will definitely make another scout think twice about asking such a ridiculous question.

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