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If Peyton Manning was ever going to become a broadcaster, this was the time.
Tony Romo’s debut in the booth was a major event, and Manning’s would have been even bigger. We may never find out how good Manning could have been as a color analyst, because he has turned down two high-profile opportunities according to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.
Manning first turned down ESPN, which wanted him to replace Jon Gruden on “Monday Night Football.” He took some extra time to consider Fox, which bought the rights to “Thursday Night Football.” But Manning turned down Fox as well.
While it’s possible this wasn’t the right time in Manning’s life to start a new broadcasting career and he’ll reconsider down the road, it’s hard to imagine he’ll ever have better opportunities. Manning, one of the greatest players ever and a well-known pitchman on commercials, might have been a star in the booth. That’s why both networks reportedly chased him hard. Even though Manning said no this year, the networks will continue to ask until Manning has a different job within football.
With Manning out of the picture, there are two major holes in NFL broadcast booths for this fall. “Monday Night Football” is considering numerous candidates. Matt Hasselbeck, who was the color analyst for the Pro Bowl, will be a consideration. The Post said Brett Favre is a long-shot candidate. The Post also said Louis Riddick could be added if ESPN goes with a three-man booth. Panthers tight end Greg Olsen also had a tryout, but the Charlotte Observer reported this week that the team expects Olsen to keep playing.
The Post said Fox has no clear Plan B after Manning declined. The network has analysts already on staff already it could consideration for “Thursday Night Football,” and the Post said Kurt Warner, Jason Witten, Carson Palmer and Joe Thomas could be candidates.
No matter who ESPN and Fox select for those positions, it won’t be a big deal like Manning would have been. This will be Manning’s third season in retirement, and we’re still waiting to see what he does next.
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