Wild speculation: Peyton Manning in ESPN’s Monday Night Football chair this season

Shutdown Corner

It takes a few leaps to get there, but I guess a person could, if they really wanted to, envision a scenario where Peyton Manning sits in the ESPN booth to call "Monday Night Football" games in 2012.

There are less likely things. Like ESPN offering that spot to Christian Slater, for example, or opting to have Fran Drescher sing the play-by-play for four quarters.

Bob Raismann of the New York Daily News believes there's a real chance that Manning is working Monday nights with Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico. He believes it enough, in fact, that he devoted half of a column to the idea over the weekend. He even suggests at one point that ESPN removed Ron Jaworski from the booth to open up a spot for Peyton.

Keeping that third seat open, especially when the guys filling the other two seats ain't exactly mega stars, was a shrewd move by ESPN suits — a move with foresight.

A move that could bring Manning into living rooms across the country when NFL football is played on Monday night.

Again, I guess it could happen. If about 4,392 things happen first.

The most important (and perhaps least likely) of those would be Peyton Manning's retirement from football. The medical news of late has been pretty encouraging, and to this point, none of the arrows have pointed toward retirement. Even if he doesn't have the same laser rocket arm he used to and the Colts don't want him back, somebody will. Rex Grossman started in the NFL last season. Desperation exists.

And maybe ESPN honestly just wants a two-man booth on "Monday Night Football." Maybe they love Jon Gruden, are invested in him, and feel like a two-man booth gives him the best chance to shine. Maybe they just don't want a third guy in the booth, regardless of whether it's Ron Jaworski, Peyton Manning or the ghost of Howard Cosell.

But hey, we're well into the offseason ‒ insane speculation about one thing or another is a fine way to kill the time. I heard Brett Favre was working on a mime routine to perform at halftime of Super Bowl XLVII.

Gracias, PFT.

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