Former Broncos QB and recent Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning made his broadcasting debut in Week 1, announcing the "Monday Night Football" matchup between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Baltimore Ravens as part of ESPN's "MegaCast" presentation. Along with his brother and former Giants QB Eli Manning, Peyton announced the game on ESPN2 to an audience of more than 800,000 viewers, according to The Athletic.
The Manning-brother duo did not disappoint in their first broadcast, mixing jokes and impressions with insightful observations and a back-and-forth that can only exist between siblings.
"The ‘ManningCast’ featured heady X’s-and-O’s analysis interspersed with Manning’s typical self-depreciating humor [and] anecdotes," The Denver Post's Kyle Newman said.
Already headlined by two Super Bowl champion QBs, the Mannings' broadcast added an extra dose of star power with special guests Ray Lewis, Russell Wilson, Charles Barkley and Travis Kelce each stopping by.
While the sparring between the Manning brothers brought a new degree of humor that far exceeded what you might find in a traditional broadcast, it was Peyton and Eli's analysis that took the broadcast to the next level.
The broadcast was a consensus hit, with viewers, analysts and NFL alum dubbing it a winning combination of humor and insight. The Manning brothers, who both found so much success on the field, appear to have found yet another area where they are better than the rest.
"They not only gave audiences a Master’s course in both offense and defense straight from the masterminds of professional football," Associated Press' Arnie Stapleton said, "but the Brothers Manning also provided riveting running commentary and plenty of their patented dry humor throughout the rip-roaring Week 1 finale."
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With CB Ronald Darby on injured reserve, it will be rookie CB Pat Surtain II, who hauled in an interception and returned it for a touchdown in his first NFL preseason action, who steps in for the veteran.
Surtain, who was the No. 9 overall selection by the Broncos in April's NFL Draft, will get his first NFL start on Sunday vs. the Jaguars.
The matchup will be a reunion of sorts for Surtain, who will face off with Jacksonville's rookie QB, Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick by the Jaguars in the draft. It won't be the first time these two have met on a football field — they faced off in the College Football Playoff National Championship game as freshmen, when Surtain was at Alabama and Lawrence was a Clemson Tiger.
"We were both freshmen at the time, both young pups," Surtain said. "He got the edge on us."
Surtain will hope to get the better of Lawrence and his Jaguars this weekend, after losing that national title game in 2019. This time around, Surtain will have the benefit of his veteran teammates' experience and leadership to help guide him to a win.
"One thing that Surtain has going for him this Sunday is that he will be surrounded by 31 years of NFL experience between safeties Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson, and corners Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller," The Gazette's George Stoia said. "And all of them believe the rookie is more than ready to fill Darby's void."
Surtain has already won the trust and respect of the secondary as he heads into his first start. His teammates have heaped praise on him through camp, and have been impressed with his maturity and talent.
"He's proven he can play at the highest level with the best of them his whole football career," S Justin Simmons said. "And playing in the NFL's going to be no different for him."
Surtain isn't letting the pressure get to him. He will prepare for his first start the same way he prepares for any other game.
"I'm approaching it like a regular week," Surtain said. "Taking it day by day, working hard in practice. It's a new opportunity for me to step in and fill in the role and be ready."