As we wrote all the way back in Week 1, the Manningcast was and still is an electric factory, and as many have written since, it’s likely the future of watching sports. Get some former players in the same room + have them talk ball in a semi-unfiltered manner = profit. It’s that simple.
However, our criticism of the Peyton and Eli show 10 weeks ago is the same criticism now – there are too many guests and the show becomes too reliant on them. It’s not that the guests are bad (many have been quite entertaining), it’s that the guests take away from Peyton and Eli breaking down the game, which is what everybody comes to ESPN2 to watch for. Anytime a guest comes on, the Manningcast becomes an interview of the guest, which, quite frankly, nobody wants to watch in the middle of a game.
Enter Phil Mickelson, who was slotted in as the second-quarter guest ahead of Monday Night’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and L.A. Rams. While it was an exciting prospect, one couldn’t help but wonder if it would just be the Manning brothers asking Lefty about golf, which we’ve heard Mickelson talk about plenty over the years. After their first guest Al Michaels was bounced early the second quarter, Phil hopped on and completely flipped the thing on its head. He began asking Peyton and Eli football questions(what a concept!), and social media began to stand and applaud in unison.
Phil Mickelson asked great questions & was, BY FAR, the best guest on the Manningcast— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) November 16, 2021
on a football telecast, I'd much rather hear a guest come on & grill the Mannings about football strategy & the game on TV rather than them try & talk to the person for 15 minutes about golf
The key moment came about two minutes after Mickelson hopped on the broadcast, when he asked Peyton what Jimmy Garoppolo, or Peyton himself, would be thinking about as they approached the line of scrimmage. Peyton proceeded to go full pre-shot routine Phil, running through everything that would cross his gigantic dome pre-snap:
Phil Mickelson doing what I and so many other fans would probably do if we got to watch football with Peyton Manning. Pick his brain! pic.twitter.com/djOKtqfgQf— Ian Casselberry (@iancass) November 16, 2021
Unfortunately, that clip gets cut off, because Peyton when on for another 30 or 40 seconds. Usually the sign of a good question. Hell of a job, Phil.
Amazing question by Phil Mickelson and fascinating answer by Peyton about what he looks for when he approaches the line of scrimmage. I so love the Manning cast.— Matthew Berry (@MatthewBerryTMR) November 16, 2021
phil mickelson has been practicing these questions in the mirror for weeks— Jessica Smetana (@jessica_smetana) November 16, 2021
Phil Mickelson is like 100x better at prepping interview questions than me— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 16, 2021
Of course, there was plenty of joking around too, like when Eli asked if this “Manningcast Curse” is real. For those scratching their heads, all six active NFL players that appeared on the Manningcast so far this year have lost their very next game. Mickelson, naturally, had the perfect answer:
“That’s why I’m not playing next week.”@PhilMickelson is making sure the Manning curse doesn’t continue. ????— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) November 16, 2021
Lefty also went full Tony Romo while Eli was off messing around with his golf swing on his basement simulator:
Phil Mickelson calling out the plays like Tony Romo, while Eli Manning works on the golf game. ????⛳️???? pic.twitter.com/Rx60SDONqe— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) November 16, 2021
Speaking of Eli’s golf swing, Phil obviously broke it down Konica Minolta biz hub style, referring to it as a “cute” little swing. Ouch:
Phil Mickelson has some pointers for Eli's "cute" golf swing ????— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 16, 2021
(via @ESPNNFL) pic.twitter.com/MV1It5VRJC
Great stuff from Phil, who, of course, had the Wanamaker in clear view, as expected. Did you guys know he won the PGA Championship?
Wanamaker in clear view as is tradition pic.twitter.com/5NOLnlICMH— Christopher Powers (@CPowers14) November 16, 2021
This article originally appeared on Golf Digest.