The return of the ManningCast for Monday’s AFC East showdown between the Patriots and Bill meant the return of Peyton Manning to the ESPN2 airwaves.
The ManningCast is a new way to watch football and it features Peyton hosting a show with Eli where they spend most of the Monday night game talking about the finer points of everything that’s happening on the field. Before each game, Peyton likes to do his homework by talking to each starting quarterback, but he wasn’t able to do that in Week 13 and that’s because the Patriots shot down his request to talk to Mac Jones.
During the Monday night ManningCast, Peyton revealed that he actually called Jones on the phone, but Jones didn’t want to do the interview unless Peyton went through the proper channels and that’s when things went awry for the Hall of Fame quarterback.
“Well, I tried to talk to Mac Jones, and he was very respectful,” Peyton said during the telecast. “He said, ‘Peyton, I want to do it, but can you call our PR director, Stacey [James]? Because he kind of has to oversee all things. I said, ‘No problem.’ I called Stacey, he was very professional. I said, ‘Stacey, I’m talking to Coach Belichick, can I talk to Mac Jones?’ And I gotta tell you, I appreciate how they’re handling Mac Jones. They are trying trying to protect him, give him as few off-the-field distractions as possible, let him concentrate on playing football.”
Monday’s game was the eighth episode of the ManningCast and through those eight episodes, Peyton has gotten permission to speak with 15 of the 16 starting quarterbacks that he tried to interview.
“So, yes, I did get denied. It was the first quarterback I haven’t talked to,” Peyton said, via Pro Football Talk.
Although Peyton got denied, he’s definitely not holding any hard feelings against the Patriots and that’s because he understands why they turned him down.
“I appreciate it,” Peyton said. “[Former Indianapolis GM] Bill Polian, as a rookie with me with the Colts, did the same thing. He didn’t let the marketing department talk to me, the community relations department talk to me. He said, ‘Hey, it’s all football this first season. Don’t bother him.’ And I think the Patriots are taking that same approach with Mac Jones, and it’s paying off. It’s working.”
The good news for Peyton is that if there was one week where he didn’t need to interview the starting quarterback, it was probably this week. During the Patriots’ 14-10 win, Mac Jones did next to nothing, throwing just three passes in the entire game, which set the franchise record for fewest passes in a game.
It was such an odd performance that Patriots star Matthew Judon was even joking about it afterward.
There are supposed to be two more ManningCasts this season and there could be one more rookie QB on the schedule if the Mannings decide to cover the Vikings-Bears game in Week 15. If that happens, it will be interesting to see if the Bears decide to make Justin Fields available or if they go the Patriots route and shoot down Peyton’s request.