Peyton Manning and Eli Manning didn’t play in the NFL in 2021, but they remain undefeated against some its elite quarterbacks. ESPN’s ManningCast curse for “Monday Night Football” started in Week 1 and didn’t let up all season long. Now the big question is whether the hex on the players affected will last into the 2022 NFL playoffs?
For the uninitiated, there’s no doubt the curse was real. Seven active players — five QBs and two tight ends all were guests of Peyton and Eli. Six of them appeared between Weeks 1 and 8. Wisely, other players caught on and avoided the show until Aaron Rodgers appeared during the final regular-season MNF game, Browns-Steelers in Week 17.
There’s no doubt Rodgers wouldn’t have done so had the Packers not locked up the No. 1 seed after crushing the Vikings the day before. Although the Packers rested players for much of the Lions matchup in Week 18, Rodgers still started and took the “L” along with his team, making the ManningCast curse 7-0 on the season.
The evidence of the ManningCurse is documented in depth right here, but below is a quick recap of the misfortunes:
- Week 1: TE Travis Kelce and QB Russell Wilson — Chiefs and Seahawks both lost in Week 2
- Week 2: TE Rob Gronkwoski — Buccaneers lost in Week 3
- Week 3: QB Matthew Stafford — Rams lost in Week 4
- Week 7: QB Tom Brady — Buccaneers lost (again!) in Week 8
- Week 8: QB Josh Allen — Bills lost in Week 9 (to Josh Allen and the Jaguars)
- Week 17: QB Aaron Rodgers — Packers lost in Week 18 (to the Lions? Really?)
With the exception of Wilson and the Seahawks, the ManningCast cost five playoff teams six wins in the regular season. That includes three of the top four seeds in the NFC, the No. 1 Packers, No. 2 Buccaneers and No. 4 Rams. In the AFC, the Chiefs are No. 2 and the Bills are No. 3.
Knowing that, don’t expect anyone from the bye-week Titans to drop by for Cardinals-Rams, the first playoff ManningCast on Monday night. The Bengals and Cowboys, winners as No. 4 seeds this weekend, shouldn’t want any part of it, either.
Yes, the ManningCurse can be taken to a whole new level in the playoffs and make every guest think long and hard about trying to challenge its power. Keep in mind that one of Peyton’s former teams, the Colts, melted down over the past two weeks to miss the AFC playoffs. His other former team, the Broncos, fired their head coach, Vic Fangio. Same went for Eli’s only former team, the Giants, who dismissed Joe Judge.
Therefore, there should be some real concern for those five teams. Tennessee, Dallas and Cincinnati need all the help they can get in the field, especially the latter two who haven’t been the big game in a long time. If one of those teams makes the Super Bowl for not making it on the Manningcast, it might be just Peyton, Eli and Roger Goodell on every show next season.