Years of dogged determination culminated in ESPN kinda-sorta landing the white whale as Peyton Manning will join his brother, Eli, on an alternate Monday Night Football telecast for a few weeks. Speculation surrounding who will serve as the middle portion of the Manning sandwich abounds and Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports today that Adam Schefter is under consideration.
Schefter’s name has surged to the top of the candidates list to work with the Manning brothers on the 10-game MegaCast, which will air on ESPN2 and stream on Disney platforms like ESPN+.
However, ESPN is still casting a wide net for a host to work with the brothers on the so-called “ManningCast.” The network is still exploring multiple candidates and different options and no decisions have been made, said sources.
That last sentence is doing a lot of work reminding everyone this project is very much in its infancy. A source told FOS the network wants someone who can facilitate conversations between the Mannings. Schefter may not have been the person atop many imagined depth charts, but his inclusion makes more sense when one realizes that play-by-play won't exactly be an important part of the offering. More of a premium will be placed on someone who can occupy the space Ernie Johnson has on Inside the NBA for all these years.
Realizing this is a joint venture with Peyton's production company, it's reasonable to conclude whomever fills the role will come with his blessing. Whomever he's most comfortable with figures to have a tremendous leg up in this horse race.
Perhaps also at play is Schefter's five-year extension due to expire in November. This high-profile gig would be a significant carrot to dangle during renegotiations.