If someone asked me on the spot, "Hey Tommy, how do you know these Eli and Peyton guys that you keep talking about all the time?" my immediate response would probably be, "Oh they're my two best friends I watch Monday Night Football with every week—" before I stopped myself and came to the sobering realization that I actually don't know them at all in real life and just watch their football broadcast for 3 hours every week.
That's the beauty of the ManningCast. In my head, I've truly convinced myself that Eli, Peyton, and I are all in a friend group together. We have standing plans to watch football together every Monday Night. They do most of the talking (they're both Super Bowl Champion quarterbacks, I'm a blogger), and often don't even acknowledge my existence, but that's just what it's like with the guys sometimes.
I bet there's some 40 year old guy out there who still lives at home with his mom. He has a pretty menial job. Non-existent love life. No friends except for maybe one guy he works with. His mom is really disappointed with how his life turned out, but she loves him and lets him live in her basement at a massive rent discount. He helps out with some bills, but he should really be paying a lot more. It would definitely be rentable on the open market. Bedroom, living room, and full bathroom. Small kitchen. She's probably getting at least $1000/month from tenants.
Anyway, one Monday he comes up to make his lunch (turkey sandwich) and his mom asks if he has any plans tonight. He says, "Yeah actually. I'm watching the game with Peyton and Eli tonight." His mom, an older woman with zero knowledge of football, says "Oh that's so nice. Where are you guys going?" The son, confused by the phrasing of the question, says "Just watching down in the basement." His mother is elated. "Oh that's wonderful! I'll make you boys some piggies in a blanket!" She thinks her son has two actual, real life friends coming over and she couldn't be happier.
Later that night, around 9 PM, she comes down in her nightgown with her pigs in a blanket and some soda pops. "Where are the boys??? I thought they were coming over for the game!" The confused son replies, "What are you talking about? They're right here!" and points at the television screen. The mom sees the names "Peyton and Eli" underneath them on the screen and realizes the entire misunderstanding. She's devastated. Just when she thought things were looking up in her son's life, she gets this gut punch.
Alright now back to reality. Yeah, the ManningCast is great. They have a vast knowledge of football and explain it well, but they're also brothers! They love to bust each other chops. Sure, they might rib each other a little bit over their fashion choices or large foreheads, but at the end of the day, you know it's all out of love and they have a deep respect for each other as brothers. I love the ESPN description too:
Just in case you didn't know they were brothers.
Another one of my favorite parts besides the football discussion and brotherly love is when Eli seemingly forgets he's on a live broadcast and just starts talking to someone else in the room with him. It's probably a producer, but it's funnier to imagine that Eli is just doing his own thing and has his own friend group over for the game and talks to them sometimes instead of Peyton.
You also have to love Peyton's burning hatred for every single person on that football field who isn't a quarterback. Wide receivers, defenders, coaches, refs. Doesn't matter. Peyton just roots for technically solid quarterback play. He was irate yesterday when the Cowboys went for it on 4th and goal in the 4th quarter. "Why do you think you can score now when your first 3 plays were a failure?" The Cowboys then scored a touchdown, but he was still angry and just gave all credit to Dak for making the play happen.
The broadcast is also significantly better when it's just Peyton and Eli. Some of the guests are big names and fit in well, but I just want to watch Eli and Peyton chop it up. It's very funny when Eli immediately becomes disinterested in the guest and just wants to talk football. Jesus Christ himself could be on the broadcast saying, "Alright so now I'm gonna do that fun little trick where I turn this bottle of water into a glass of wine" and Eli would abruptly cut him off to point out that the defense is in a Cover 2 zone.
And of course, Eli stole the show last night when he flipped double birds on National TV.
My favorite part of that whole thing was when he asked "You can blur that right?" It's like Eli thought there was just a graphics guy in the control room lingering over a "blur middle fingers" button for the entire broadcast. But even better than that was his apology.
Just the classic "I know I'm not wrong but they're making me apologize anyway" apology. It's really the 9-year-old kid's fault.
And I want to clarify that none of this praise is sarcastic. Someone tweeted me last night saying the praise was so over the top that it started to feel way, but I assure you that's not the truth. I have always loved Eli Manning and think this broadcast is a great idea that's working extremely well. And yes, I really wish I lived in an alternate reality where Peyton and Eli were in my friend group. I want to figure out a way to build an artificial intelligence system that can generate what it would be like to have a group chat with them.
But the night did end with some bad news. They're apparently not bringing this broadcast back until Week 7???!?!?!! I was honestly insulted. I thought Peyton, Eli, and I had a pretty clear thing going where we watch Monday Night Football together every week and chop it up about the game while poking fun at each other and enjoying some camaraderie. It has become a staple of my week. Someone asks me to go watch the game at a bar on a Monday Night? Sorry, no can do. Got plans already to watch with the boys. But I guess my Mondays have now opened up until Week 7. See you boys, then!