With Jon Gruden stepping out of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasting booth to coach the Oakland Raiders once again, another high-profile name could be stepping in — former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Manning has already worked as a host for ESPN; his performance as host of the ‘ESPY’ awards last July was almost universally praised.
According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, ESPN executive Stephanie Druley says that ESPN ‘likes Peyton Manning,’ and “we would be foolish not to talk him.”
Deitsch’s column on SI.com goes on to discuss Druley’s comments regarding the perfect candidate that ESPN is searching for.
“We want someone who loves the game, who is a student of the game, but who has a personality as well,” Druley stated, who works as the network’s senior vice president of event and studio production.
But even with Manning’s football IQ and acumen, Druley says that interests outside of football and the ability to connect with viewers is what’s needed in the booth.
“We talk often about how a broadcast should personalize and analyze — and I think we need to do more of that in the MNF booth.”
Former NFL quarterback Matt Hasselback — who will call the Pro Bowl for ESPN on Sunday — is also a candidate for the booth position.
“We are considering Matt, for sure,” Druley said.
“I would not consider the Pro Bowl an audition, per se. When we hired Matt a few years ago, there were other networks that wanted Matt as a game analyst. I expect Matt to be very good at this, and he will certainly be considered.”
More than 700 NFL games have aired on Monday Night Football, and the long-standing program will enter its 48th season next year.