One of the biggest NFL stars of the past couple of decades is the focus of a battle between ESPN and Fox. The New York Post reports that both sports operations are eager to put Peyton Manning in the broadcast booth.
The longtime Indianapolis Colts quarterback retired in 2016 after an 18-season NFL career highlighted by Super Bowl championships with both the Colts and the Denver Broncos. Widely considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he holds many of the NFL’s major career records for QBs.
“In an NFL offseason in which ESPN has already considered a total reboot of “Monday Night Football” and Fox added the Thursday night package for billions, Peyton Manning’s decision to possibly enter the TV booth remains the most intriguing storyline,” The Post reports. “Both ESPN and Fox have Manning atop their list to be their primetime game analyst, sources told The Post. Manning has been approached multiple times about becoming a TV analyst since he retired, but has been reluctant.”
Manning has his sights set on an ownership stake in an NFL team, the report notes. But in the interim, he hasn’t ruled out television.
“Before last season, Fox reached out to Manning to see if he would be interested in going into the studio or being a game analyst,” The Post reports. “As he has told all the networks annually, he did not want to become a broadcaster at that time. Fox will try again, but, at this point, it is ESPN that is being far more aggressive.”
After losing Jon Gruden to a lucrative deal to coach the Raiders, ESPN is said to be prepared to “back up the truck” for Manning, the report notes.
“Meanwhile, Manning is the first person Fox wants to talk to about its Thursday night package that it just acquired for a reported $3.3 billion for five years,” The Post adds. “This weekend, Manning is scheduled to drive the pace car at the Daytona 500, which will be televised by Fox. Top Fox executives will be at the event.”