Will Peyton Manning and Al Michaels Call Either Week 1 MNF Game? Odds Say No

Will Peyton Manning and Al Michaels Call Either Week 1 MNF Game? Odds Say No

Peyton Manning smiling

Are Peyton Manning and Al Michaels set to pair up in the Monday Night Football booth next season? Bovada is offering a prop wager on that exact equation. Photo by Gage Skidmore (Wikimedia Commons).

  • Odds are out on Al Michaels and Peyton Manning teaming up in the Monday Night Football booth to start the 2020 season
  • Could they be the dynamic duo that brings a resurgence to MNF’s sagging ratings?
  • See the odds and analysis, below

ESPN are dreamscaping a scenario where Al Michaels and Peyton Manning ride to the rescue of Monday Night Football.

An NFL legend. A broadcasting legend. What a dynamic tandem they could become in the broadcast booth.

Here’s the thing about dreams, though. Seldom do they come true.

Not long after the New York Post broke the news of ESPN’s plan to beef up the MNF broadcast team, Bovada was quick to whip up a prop wager on the possibility.

The sportsbook is not laying odds in the affirmative. When it comes to the possibility of Michaels and Manning calling either of the opening-week MNF telecasts, “No” is the -220 favorite.

Odds Manning and Michaels Call a Week 1 MNF Game

Outcome Odds at Bovada
Yes +155
No -220

Odds taken March 5th

Michaels previously handled play-by-play duties on MNF from 1986-2005.

Michaels and the Rabbit

ESPN would need to pull off a blockbuster trade to get Michaels out of his contract at NBC, where he’s the main play-by-play voice for Sunday Night Football. But it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. There is a precedent, and it involves Michaels and MNF.

Michaels was originally supposed to stay with MNF as the show transferred from ABC to ESPN in 2006. But when former NFL head coach John Madden, his partner in the booth, opted to jump to NBC, Michaels sought to get out of his contract and follow Madden to NBC.

ABC agreed to the move. According to the New York Post story, the deal came with one condition. NBC had to give the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to ESPN, which is owned by Disney.

Oswald was a cartoon created by Walt Disney prior to Mickey Mouse. He was featured in several animated shorts in the 1920s and 1930s. Universal studios, owners of Oswald, moved the cartoon bunny to ESPN.

Oddly enough, as ESPN seeks to get Michaels back, there’s also unconfirmed rumors of an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon in development at Disney.

Super Bowl 55 Odds Tracker

Romo Was Sought Out

ESPN’s first choice for analyst in the MNF booth was ex-Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. He was Bovada’s +200 chalk to get the job back in early January.

Considered the top NFL analyst working today, CBS re-upped Romo recently for a reported $17 million a season.

Manning An X-Factor

Those January odds listed Manning as the second betting choice at odds of +400. Anyone who’s watched Manning’s TV spots, or seen him in action on Saturday Night Live knows that he’s a natural in front of the camera.

There’s just two questions – does Manning want to be a TV football analyst, and would he be any good at it?

He’s spectacular with a script and time to rehearse. But live TV is a completely different animal.

Do You Believe in . . . Oh, Never Mind

ESPN is offering Manning a reported $18-20 million. He didn’t bite last year when ESPN pursued him to replace Jason Witten in the booth, though.

There’s a chance that NBC might be willing to part with Michaels, 75. The network is grooming Mike Tirico to be their go-to guy. But the chances of ESPN landing both of these A-listers?

To quote Michaels’ most famous line, do you believe in miracles?

Nope. Not this time.

Pick: No (-220)

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Robert Duff



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