Both ESPN and Fox have Peyton Manning atop their list to be their primetime game analyst, sources told Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. Manning has been approached multiple times about becoming a TV analyst since he retired, but has been reluctant.
Manning’s ultimate goal is to be like John Elway and have an ownership stake in a team, while running football operations, he has said. Multiple TV officials who have spoken to him believe that remains his long-term target, but Manning has not fully ruled out TV in the interim.
Before last season, Fox reached out to Manning to see if he would be interested in going into the studio or being a game analyst. As he has told all the networks annually, he did not want to become a broadcaster at that time. Fox will try again, but, at this point, it is ESPN who is being far more aggressive.
In the words of one source, ESPN is willing to “back up the truck” for Manning, wanting to make a splash in replacing Jon Gruden as the analyst on “Monday Night Football.” Gruden was reportedly the highest-paid ESPN employee, making more than $6.5 million before leaving for a 10-year, $100 million coaching deal with the Raiders.
A TV executive, who has spoken to Manning in the past about broadcasting, said Manning has never given off the full vibe that he wanted to be in the booth.