Add special sauce to the growing lore of the “Manningcast”.
After a three-week hiatus, Peyton and Eli Manning delivered jokes, insults and insights during their “Monday Night Football” broadcast that also featured an f-bomb from Marshawn Lynch, candor from Tom Brady and special sauce, served up during conversation in the second half of the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks.
“Warren Moon threw the best spiral of anybody in the history of football and he threw a shiny ball out of the box,’’ Peyton said. “Not fair. Only he could do it.’’
Now, this would not be the first time the Manning brothers spoke with respective tongues in respective cheeks. But as talk turned to how regulation NFL footballs were broken in during their careers, nary a smirk could be seen during the following exchange, condensed for clarity.
Eli: “You cannot throw a new ball. You’ve got to rub ‘em. You’ve got to sand ‘em. You have a sander. I mean, Peyton, that’s why the guys in the equipment room, that’s their job. …I noticed you had a lot of conversations with your equipment guys, just getting it perfect, right?”
Peyton: “Absolutely. Those equipment guys were great. They’d put them in the sauna. Rough ‘em down. They had a kind of special sauce. …’’
Eli: “With what?’’
Peyton: “They had a special sauce. I can’t reveal what’s in the sauce.’’
Could the “sauce” have been a classic deadpan Manning brother joke?
Without a hint of a smile, Peyton said, “Tom Brady and I actually ran a petition that the home team should break down their own footballs.’’
It was too late to ask Brady, who joined the Manning brothers as a guest in the first half.
Sly timing on the fourth edition of the “Manningcast,” the alternate MNF broadcast?
MARSHAWN LYNCH: Ex-NFL RB drops f-bomb during ESPN’s ‘Manningcast’ of Saints-Seahawks game
TOM BRADY: The G.O.A.T. makes fun of defensive players
Perhaps, and it was among the intriguing moments that also included:
Peyton showed up for the broadcast wearing a No. 10 Ole Miss football jersey, like the one Eli wore when played for the Rebels.
“Peyton, you look good in that jersey, pal,’’ Eli said. “That’s a solid Ole Miss jersey. I like that. Thanks for wearing that.’’
As Marshawn Lynch might have asked, “What the (expletive)?”
Explained Peyton, “Yeah, I lost a bet, folks. Ole Miss beat Tennessee (in football) two weeks ago, and that was the bet. The loser had to wear the other guy’s jersey.”
Allegedly, Eli sent Peyton a medium-sized jersey.
“I know you asked for one of my own jerseys, but I didn’t want your big head stretching out the neck too much,’’ Eli said. “Then I would never be able to wear it again.’’
And so the stat-keeping could begin.
“There’s a lot of bets about when the first big head, big forehead joke would come,’’ Peyton. “Obviously 12 minutes to go in the first quarter.’’
It might be time to retire the forehead jokes, but the Ole Miss jersey was a nice touch.
Eli and Peyton know how to entertain viewers by needling and ribbing each other with the ease of tossing a football back and forth. They also showed they know when to create space for their guests.
Case in point: Brady’s appearance.
Yes, there was good-natured ribbing between the Mannings and Brady when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback joined the broadcast. But the brothers did a nice job letting Brady talk – with unusual candor.
He confirmed Rob Gronkowski’s confession that the tight end relies on Brady for game film study. He mocked defensive players for their lack of smarts. And he said Byron Kennedy, the fan who gave Brady the football he used to throw his 600th career touchdown pass on Sunday, acted too quickly.
“Byron realized he lost all of his leverage once he gave the ball away,’’ Brady said. “He should have held it and then had as much leverage as possible.”
With appropriate timing, Peyton cracked, “If he would have held it, he would have been sitting in the Tom Brady suite or the rest of the season.”
No, Eli did not apologize for the forehead jokes, although he did resist referring to Peyton’s “fivehead.’’ It was Peyton who did the apologizing coming out of a commercial break in the first quarter.
“I want to thank Marshawn Lynch,’’ Peyton said. “Not as wild about the language. I want to apologize for some of the language. It’s not what we’re trying to do on this show.’’
It seems f-bombs and other expletives are not what ESPN had in mind for the “Manningcast.” Nor was the double-bird Eli flipped during an earlier broadcast.
“I had to remind Eli that this show is live,’’ Peyton said as the apology continued. “But Eli’s learned his lesson.’’
“Keep your hands down,’’ Eli said.
Hands down, and another thumbs up for the “Manningcast.”