January 07

DOUGLAS: Drama in NFL redeemed by Manning brothers - The Robesonian

If you don’t like football, you might call an audible and give today’s scribble a pass. Or if you enjoy football, but prefer high school or college and not the No Fun League variety, then this might not be for you.

Check that.

Today’s subject, the “Manning Brothers” television show, certainly orbits around football, but offers something for just about anyone with this single stipulation: You must possess a sense of humor. Football, specifically the Monday night NFL game, is simply the excuse for Archie’s boys Nos. 2 and 3, retired quarterbacks Peyton and Eli, who have two Super Bowl titles each, to virtually invite a Who’s Who of guests into their living rooms. ESPN2 allows to you sit in for the shenanigans.

I did so for the fourth time on Monday night, and in my mind at least, the Mannings saved their best show for next to last as the guests were Bill Cowher, Snoop Dog (what could go wrong?), Roger Goodell, and Aaron Rodgers. The format, loosely scripted, allows for Peyton and Eli to watch that night’s NFL game – it was the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns this week – while making observations about the game and sharing stories, most at the expense of the other. The stories come at you like Aaron Rodgers with the ball, down 6 and with 90 seconds on the clock – in a hurry.

The format is not without flaw, a bit clunky even, as Peyton, Eli and the guests – they have four, with each sitting in for a quarter – are at separate venues, which means they occasionally speak at the same time, resulting in some awkwardness and dead air here and there. But the viewer gets used to it, at least this one did, and the sharing of an endless supply of stories and the continual good-natured ribbing are the rewards.

If you are a football aficionado, then this is must-see TV as the Mannings, but Peyton in particular, break down the plays in real time and often share how they would attack the defense and why. It’s fascinating and free and any coach, ranging from Pee Wee to professional, would probably benefit by watching with a clipboard and pen in hand.

But I’m there for the storytelling when the remote’s pause function comes in handy as they are stacked one after another, with many earning instant classic status. Just on Monday, Peyton shared how he decided to retire three games after an opposing player, a son of Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, informed him that Peyton had played against his father; Rodgers donned a shirt with a Masters logo, angling for an invite from...



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