The Buffalo Bills visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9, and the 5-2 AFC East leaders are two-touchdown favorites over the 1-6 AFC South side. On paper, the game should be a walk for Bills quarterback Josh Allen and his squad. However, Urban Meyer, Trevor Lawrence, and the Jaguars do have one thing going for them: the emerging ManningCast curse.
There is a ManningCast curse developing
ESPN2’s alternate Monday Night Football broadcast hosted by Eli and Peyton Manning — better known as the ManningCast — has become must-see TV on Monday nights. The NFL great brothers’ unique combination of deep analysis and talk show format is revolutionizing live sports broadcasts.
One of the biggest reasons for the broadcast’s success is that the Manning’s get some of the biggest names in the NFL to come on the show and watch football with them.
So far, the ManningCast’s have featured current stars such as Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford on Week 3, and Bucs quarterback Tom Brady.
As good as these guests have been, there is a problem developing. After each of these active players’ appearances, their team has lost the next game.
Kelce and Wilson appeared on the Week 1 broadcast, and their teams promptly lost to the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans, respectively. Stafford’s only loss came in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals following his appurtenance on the show. And the Buccaneers’ two losses came in Week 3 to the Rams following Gronkowski’s illuminating cameo and in Week 8 vs. the New Orleans Saints after Brady appeared.
It’s still a relatively small sample size but, so far, the ManningCast curse seems real.
We’ll find out exactly how real it is in Week 9 when there is a new NFL player who has a chance to fall victim to this burgeoning curse.
Josh Allen appeared on the best’ Monday Night Football’ ManningCast yet
If there is a next victim of the ManningCast curse, it will be Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen. He is the only active NFL player to appear on the Week 8 broadcast along with comedian and host Jon Stewart and NFL Hall of Famers Michael Strahan and Michael Irvin.
Allen joined what became the most-watched ManningCast broadcast ever. According to Yahoo! Sports, the broadcast brought in 1.89 million viewers. This is a 2% increase from the alternate broadcast’s previous high-water mark of 1.86 million viewers in Week 2.
While the ManningCast has been up and down in terms of entertainment value and awkwardness, the show seemed to really hit its stride in Week 8.
This week delivered, with three NFL-related guests who all fit perfectly in with the Eli and Peyton Manning.
Allen is a hyper-relevant active QB that has known the Manning brothers for years, having worked at their Manning Passing Academy as a college student. Strahan and Irvin are both all-time greats who are now NFL analysts, so they know how to do TV.
Strahan gets bonus points as a longtime teammate and friend of Eli Manning, who brought out the most in the more reserved Manning.
The biggest issue so far has been with non-NFL-related guests. People like Sue Bird, Nick Saban, and LeBron James have been the weakest visitors to the ManningCast so far.
This week the Manning’s welcomed Jon Stewart, who, although not related to the NFL, does know how to be entertaining on TV. He is also a die-hard New York Giants fan. His suffering and joy on each of his team’s play was very relatable for most viewers.
Will the ManningCast curse continue when the Buffalo Bills take on the Jacksonville Jaguars?
If the ManningCast curse is indeed real, it will truly prove it in Week 9.
The matchup between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars is among the most lopsided in the NFL and should result in a win for Allen and the heavily-favored Bills (-14.5).
The Jaguars have a rookie QB in Trevor Lawrence, a first-time NFL head coach in former college head man Urban Meyer, and has just one win during a season that got submarined early by the scandal involving the Jags’ head coach.
While the Jaguars did pull off an AFC upset in London when they took down the Miami Dolphins across the pond, they came out of their bye week and lost to a Geno Smith-led Seattle Seahawks.
The game should be an easy W for the Bills, a team on the complete opposite side of the NFL spectrum. The Bills D is the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL, and the offense is No. 2 in points per game (to the Buccaneers).
The only drama of this game should be whether the Bills can maintain/improve their offensive and defensive rankings and if Jaguars DE Josh Allen can sack Bills QB Josh Allen to make same-name-related history.
However, in addition to a guy with the same name chasing him, the Bills Josh Allen should also beware of the ManningCast curse if the game starts to go sideways.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference