It was a well-known fact that ESPN has been making a hard push to recruit Peyton Manning to the “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth.
The Worldwide Leader did strike out on a concerted effort to bring in Tony Romo beforehand, but much to the surprise of, well, no one, he stayed with Jim Nantz and CBS Sports.
As such, ESPN shifted its focus to Manning, given that anyone else would be a significant step down. They’ve been negotiating with his camp, but the latest report has stated that he turned them down, according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.
Sources say the overriding factor was whether Manning finally wanted to enter the broadcast booth and commit to the weekly schedule in the fall. The answer remains no.
Manning has declined to be an MNF analyst on multiple occasions, turning down basically every network since he retired from the NFL in 2016.
Too bad, as either Romo or Manning would’ve been highly entertaining. It’s unclear exactly what ESPN will do to mix it up in the booth, but there’s been a major void since Jon Gruden left to coach the Raiders, and it doesn’t appear it’s going to be rectified anytime soon, although Greg Olsen — should he choose to retire after the 2020 season — is a solid candidate who could provide some great commentary, as well as X’s and O’s. Still, this season’s booth pairing doesn’t look all that promising, unless ESPN pulls a rabbit out of its hat.