Michaels, Manning on ESPN’s MNF? It could happen

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

ESPN is presently unhappy with its current Monday Night Football broadcast booth, according to the New York Post. The Worldwide Leader in Sports is looking to make a change.

The Post is reporting that their main targets are Al Michaels and Peyton Manning. The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback previously turned down ESPN before.

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning throws a ceremonial pass to former teammate Marvin Harris during Manning number retirement ceremony during halftime between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers
Peyton Manning throws a ceremonial pass to former teammate Marvin Harris during Manning number retirement ceremony during halftime between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers (Getty Images)

Also, just this off-season, Manning turned down a multi-year agreement worth between $10-12 million per season to replace Tony Romo had he left as a free agent. Instead, Romo signed a 10-year, $180 million agreement with CBS to remain their top NFL analyst for years to come.

Michaels was previously employed by ESPN. In 2006, he was traded from ESPN to NBC Universal.

As part of the agreement, The Walt Disney Company, which is ESPN’s parent company, acquired several considerations, including Friday coverage of the Ryder Cup tournament in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. ESPN also received coverage of expanded coverage of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes from 2006 through 2011.

The package also included expanded clips to the Olympics, beginning in 2006 with the Winter Olympics in Torino and ended in 2012 with the Summer Olympics in London, England. ESPN also received additional access clips to the Notre Dame Football team from 2006 through 2011.

NBC Sports also had to promote ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts through the end of the 2011 season. But the main piece of the deal was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a cartoon character, which was created by Walt Disney, before it was lost to Charles B. Mintz.

Presently, ESPN’s broadcast booth for Monday Night Football is play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and analyst Anthony “Booger” McFarland.

This booth has been criticized, especially McFarland. Even when Jason Witten was a part of the booth in 2018, they were widely criticized and Witten considered it a miserable experience, which drove him back to the Dallas Cowboys.

The Post is reporting in this post that if Romo was going to be the analyst, ESPN was hoping to partner him with Michaels. But there is a dilemma.

It may take another trade to make such a deal happen. NBC has Michaels under contract for the next two seasons.

If no trade is worked out, NBC could simply turn down their overtures.

Michaels is considered the best NFL play-by-play broadcaster on TV. ESPN is hoping that by pairing Michaels and Manning together, it would give the Monday Night Football games more sizzle that would keep people entertained instead of changing the channel.

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