NFL: Peyton Manning Pursued By Streaming Giant to Host Thursday Night Football

by Quentin Blount

It’s really no secret that the NFL’s Thursday Night Football has not been as popular as its Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football counterparts. But the broadcasts could possibly be getting a big upgrade in the offseason.

We know by now that Amazon will have the rights to the NFL’s Thursday Night broadcasts starting with the 2022 season. Now the question is, who will be lead commentator for games when that exclusive deal kicks off next year? According to Andrew Marchand from the New York Post, the streaming giant has been “grappling with the idea” of pursuing former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning.

Now let’s be clear here — Amazon has not yet made an offer or even a pitch yet to Manning. And perhaps they never will. But one thing is for certain: they are at least considering the option. And why wouldn’t they? If Amazon ends up partnering with NBC, a Peyton Manning and Al Michaels combination would be downright amazing.

This also would not be the first time that the great Peyton Manning has been pursued for a commentating position with a major network. As a matter of fact, the Hall of Fame quarterback has been contacted multiple times in the past by the likes of networks like ESPN and Fox. However, in those instances, he has always turned them down.

But there is no question about it — if Manning were to sign with Amazon, Thursday Night Football would have a buzz around it like never before. And the exclusive TNF rights and sheer financial power of Amazon Prime Video might just make this the most appealing option Manning has ever had.

Is Now the ‘Right Time’ for Former NFL Quarterback Peyton Manning?

Even though Peyton Manning has consistently turned down other networks in the past, he has hinted about the idea of broadcasting games in the future.

“I’ve said no to this year. It just doesn’t feel like the right time,” Manning previously told Rich Eisen. “And I hate sort of kind of having this sort of ‘check with me next year’ type deal, but that’s really how I approach this chapter. I just believe in taking it a year at a time. That’s kind of what [former New York Giants quarterback and younger brother] Eli [Manning] is doing. He’s taking this year off. So that’s what I’ve tried to do and I don’t really have a five-year plan or 10-year plan.”

As of right now, the former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos star is enjoying the retired life. But it sounds like when the time is right, we will see him up in the booth.

“I loved playing football,” he said. “I loved everything about it and I’ve just tried to ease into this second chapter by keeping myself busy, keeping myself stimulated, creating a lot of time for family and to do some things that I haven’t had the chance to do.”