From Tom Brady to The Rock: The best ManningCast moments of the season

    Tory Barron is a Bristol-based writer and editor for ESPN.com. After retiring from playing lacrosse at UConn, the DC native decided to try her hand at writing about people playing sports.

And just like that, with the Los Angeles Rams’ 34-11 wild-card-round victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the first season of Peyton and Eli’s Monday Night Football telecast has come to a close.

When we first linked up with the Manning brothers in Week 1, they wasted no time proving they are just as fun to watch in the nonconventional booth (read: Eli’s basement and Peyton’s remote production room) as they were on the field.

Whether the former quarterbacks were offering up invaluable insight into the game, chirping at each other (so many forehead jokes) or engaging in story time with their high-profile guests (14 former players and 11 current players among them), Mondays instantly became a little less mundane.

Despite straying from their signature quarter-zip sweaters (weird), Peyton and Eli still brought it for the playoffs. Thanks to a little help from Larry Fitzgerald, The Rock, Russell Wilson — and jokes at Eli’s beloved New York Giants’ expense — the ManningCast finale had no shortage of memorable moments.

As we brace ourselves for months of football-less Mondays, we took the liberty of compiling some of the most ManningCast-y, ManningCast moments of the season:

Snoop Dogg gifts Eli a chain …

If guest power rankings were a thing, Snoop Dogg would have to take the top spot for this move alone.

When Snoop Dogg joined the ManningCast in Week 17, the rapper and avid Pittsburgh Steelers fan promptly made a strong impression by bringing his host, and birthday boy Eli, a gift.

Tough to think of a swaggier way to walk into your 41st year than with a Death Row Records chain around your neck.

Peyton urged his younger brother to rock his new bling for the playoffs. Naturally, Eli delivered.

Eli proves his hips don’t lie …

In Week 3, Eli decided to demonstrate how Dak Prescott “creates torque” by loosening his hips during his pregame warm-up routine. After Eli likened himself to Shakira, Peyton was rendered speechless, commenting, “I’ve got nothing for you. I’m going to let that sink in for our viewers.”

Ma, the meatloaf …

When fans took to Twitter to question whether Eli lives with his parents, the quarterback leaned all the way in with a tasteful, well-timed nod to Chazz Reinhold.

Beast Mode gonna Beast Mode …

Upon joining the call in Week 7, Marshawn Lynch promptly informed the Manning brothers he had amended his normal pregame ritual of taking a shot and a half of Hennessy to account for “big bro” and “little bro” with a three-shot minimum.

Eli trolls Tom Brady …

When Brady came on the broadcast in Week 7 (it was a particularly star-studded week), Eli made sure to get in a subtle jab about the former New England Patriots QB’s two Super Bowl losses at the hands of the former New York Giants QB.

People don’t forget.

Brady, big “babe” guy …

While we’re on the subject of trolling Brady, there was no one more equipped for the task than his close friend and former teammate, Julian Edelman.

The retired Patriots standout WR came through with perhaps the crowning moment of Week 11 as he leaned upon his true talent of imitating Brady and Rob Gronkowski while he narrated a conversation between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers duo.

While we can’t know the actual dialogue of the conversation, this version felt right.

The ManningCast curse finishes undefeated …

In the vein of keeping it real, we would be remiss not to mention the rumored “ManningCast curse” — a dreaded phenomenon in which every active player who joined Peyton and Eli’s show subsequently lost the next game they played.

First, it came for Travis Kelce and Wilson in Week 2 after their Week 1 appearances on the telecast. Then, the curse claimed Week 2 guest Gronkowski and Matthew Stafford the following week. The curse proved to be alive and well after the Manning brothers’ three-week hiatus when Brady suffered its effects in Week 8. Next up was Josh Allen, who, you guessed it, lost in Week 9.

While Aaron Rodgers played only during the first half in Week 18, the Green Bay Packers still felt the wrath of the curse with a loss to the Detroit Lions following Rodgers’ appearance.

In case you lost track, that’s an astounding 0-7 record for NFL stars coming off a ManningCast cameo.

May we humbly suggest players take Phil Mickelson’s advice and try coming on before a bye week next season?

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