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ESPN to Host NFL Monday Night Wild Card Playoff Game For Next 5 Years, With ManningCast on ESPN+

Jeff Kotuby

The first-ever Monday night Wild Card playoff game will air on the same network as the other Monday night games — ESPN.

Today, ESPN announced it reached a five-year deal with the NFL to broadcast the Monday night Wild Card game beginning with the 2021 season and continuing through the 2025 season. The inaugural Monday night NFL Wild Card game will be played on January 17, 2022, (8:15 p.m. ET), marking the grand finale of the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend and the first scheduled weekday prime time NFL Playoff game.

Both ABC and ESPN will air the traditional telecast, helmed by Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters, and John Parry. On ESPN2 and ESPN+, the incredibly popular “Manning-cast” starring Peyton and Eli Manning will be available and ESPN Deportes will air the Spanish-language telecast. Additional MegaCast production offerings will be announced at a later date.

Speculation abounded regarding which broadcast network would end up airing the Monday night Wild Card game, with some wondering if the NFL would give a non-ABC-affiliated network the game. Common sense ultimately prevailed and now your muscle memory won’t fail you — ESPN will air a Monday night football game.

What’s more interesting is the appearance of the “Manning-cast” during these games. While not surprising, especially considering the broadcast's success with fans and industry execs alike, the postseason Manning-casts have a chance to be especially insightful, informative, and entertaining.

ESPN also casually snuck in the fact that there will be other alternate broadcasts, which creates an interesting proposition. Expect to see similar alternate broadcasts that one would see during ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Football national championship games, like a “Coach’s Corner” featuring prominent former football coaches, a “Fan Stream” featuring celebrity fans interacting with the game alongside ESPN personalities, and perhaps a stream helmed by NFL Live stars Dan Orlovsky and Ryan Clark, who have provided fantastic football coverage on ESPN’s flagship football studio show over the past few years.

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