Both ESPN and FOX Sports are targeting former MVP and Super Bowl Champion quarterback Peyton Manning for an NFL color commentary job.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football is still looking for a replacement for Jon Gruden, who left the post to take the Oakland Raiders head coaching job while FOX is still deciding who will makeup their Thursday Night Football broadcast team.
Manning, a 1st ballot Hall of Famer, is the top choice for both, according to a report from the New York Post.
According to the report, ESPN is willing to “back up the truck” for Manning as ESPN executives have considered a total reboot of their Monday night booth, who feel that current lead play-by-play Sean McDonough lacked chemistry with Gruden and was also the target of fan criticism.
Internal candidates such as Joe Tessitore, Steve Levy, Dave Pasch and Bob Wischusen are also being considered while CBS’ Ian Eagle and Fox’s Kevin Burkhardt are some of the known outside candidates.
Manning is scheduled to drive the pace car at the Daytona 500, which will be televised by Fox. Top Fox executives will be at the event and are looking at the success that Tony Romo and CBS have had with the thinking that Manning could produce similar, if not better, results in a similar role.
Disney, which owns ESPN, is in the process of buying many of Fox’s assets, in excess of $52 billion.