ESPN has been pursuing Peyton Manning for its Monday Night Football analyst role in the wake of Jason Witten’s decision to un-retire and step out of the broadcasting booth.
Manning, 43, has long been coveted by the Worldwide Leader, which reportedly made a run at him before hiring Witten in 2018.
The former star quarterback turned ESPN down then and he’s reportedly turned them down again.
Sporting News is reporting that Manning has said no to ESPN.
— Michael McCarthy (@MMcCarthyREV) April 22, 2019
From the report:
During their last round of talks, Manning passed on joining Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters in the “Monday Night Football” booth. Instead, the two-time Super Bowl champion opted to host ESPN’s new five-part, 30-episode series, “Peyton’s Places,” debuting on ESPN+ in July.
The 43-year-old’s decision to say no to “Monday Night Football” ends years of back and forth between Manning, who retired from the NFL in 2016, and ESPN management led, by president Jimmy Pitaro.
With Manning saying no, ESPN is expected to just promote Booger McFarland to the lead analyst role, putting him in the booth with Joe Tessitore.
McFarland was part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts in 2018, though he was down on the field, with Witten in the booth.
ESPN’s 2018 Monday Night Football broadcasts were criticized, with chemistry seeming to lack between the three-headed crew. Perhaps a two-man broadcast with Tessitore and McFarland will fare better.