1. ESPN’s obsession with getting Peyton Manning to call Monday Night Football games has finally paid off.
The Hall of Fame quarterback has agreed to be part of an alternate telecast with his brother, Eli, for 10 games a season over the next three seasons. Peyton and Eli will do the show on ESPN2 from a studio with a yet-to-be-named host, and have guests. So they won’t be doing traditional play-by-play and analysis.
The regular Monday Night Football telecast will still air on ESPN and feature Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick.
There’s a lot to unpack here, so I’m gonna go bullet style.
• No matter what is said publicly, this is a blow to Levy, Griese and Riddick. ESPN has created competition for its own crew, and now has Manning waiting in the wings to move over to the traditional ESPN broadcast any time he wants. This may be a three-year deal for the MegaCast, but if Peyton decides after Year 1 that he wants to give real broadcasting a shot and call the games, ESPN will ax Griese and Riddick in record speed.
• In a time when ESPN has been on a cost-cutting mission by letting several high-profile employees leave the network, you can bet they shelled out several millions of dollars for Peyton and Eli to host a secondary feed. That surely won’t go over well with the rank and file. It wasn’t like ESPN needed the Peyton and Eli show. This feels like a move just to keep Peyton in the fold and have him around for when he finally decides to become a game analyst.
• From a business standpoint, creating this MegaCast will be a win for ESPN because they will promote the hell out of the Peyton/Eli show, sell ads and make money. I have no idea how many people will watch the MegaCast or who it even appeals to, but it will generate more ratings and revenue to whatever else ESPN2 airs on a Monday night during the football season.
• I’m sure this is just me, but I don’t get the concept of a MegaCast for Monday Night Football. This may sound radical, but I just want to watch the game. Is that weird? I don’t want to watch the game in a little box while there is a talk show going on in another box, no matter who is on said show. Peyton and Eli could be great, but I would still want to watch the traditional feed.
2. Speaking of ESPN, we always enjoy ESPN-on-ESPN crime, and clearly Jeff Passan was subtweeting Stephen A. Smith with this tweet. On a side note, I don't understand the uppercase/lowercase thing, but the message was clear.
3. Mets play-by-play man Gary Cohen was not shy about sharing his opinion on Skyline Chili while calling New York's game in Cincinnati on Monday night.
4. At least Cole Beasley's public anti-vax crusade is so ridiculous it's good for content.
5. John Cena appeared on Monday Night Raw on Monday night and said he returned to WWE because Roman Reigns "is an a--hole."
6. The latest episode of the SI Media Podcast features an interview with New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand.
It's been a wild couple of weeks in sports media and we covered it all. Marchand updates us on where Maria Taylor stands with ESPN, breaking down the entire Taylor–Rachel Nichols saga and ESPN's responsibility in creating the mess.
We also discussed Stephen A. Smith's offensive comments about Shohei Ohtani and why they happened. Marchand also weighed in on the future of NFL Sunday Ticket, broadcasters not traveling for road games and more.
Topics covered in the Traina Thoughts segment of the podcast with WFAN's Sal Licata include MLB's possibly banning the shift, Giannis's NBA Finals performance and the story about NBC wanting James Gandolfini to replace Steve Carell on The Office.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: With all these people going into space these days, I thought this would be a good time to remember Ali G's interview with Buzz Aldrin.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.