The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The ‘Manningcast’ brought Jimmy Johnson, ‘butt punt’ analysis and Tracy Morgan

What happened during the butt punt? Pat McAfee knows. (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

Week 3 of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” alternative “Manningcast” brought annoying delays and a lot of talking over one another, but there were some gems during a game that wasn’t exactly a scorefest. (The Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants, 23-16.)

Peyton and Eli Manning warmed up the audience with a Jimmy Johnson conversation, then turned to a discussion of the Miami Dolphins’ “butt punt” and other topics with Pat McAfee before the show closed with Tracy Morgan wondering what it was like for Peyton to have played against — gulp — Lawrence Taylor. Along the way, Peyton continued to demand that coaches call timeouts (“What do you think your most said word is on this telecast?” Eli wondered to an oblivious Peyton, who will die on the timeout hill), and the younger Manning went on to deliver a wicked jab at Nathaniel Hackett, coach of Peyton’s beloved Denver Broncos, on that very topic.

Up first was Johnson, the former Cowboys and Dolphins coach, who spoke of two of his regrets: not trademarking “How ’bout them Cowboys?” and a trade that never materialized.

Saying it’s “amazing” how many people come up and ask him to say the phrase to a friend on the phone, he added: “I wish I’d have trademarked that thing. I could have made a bunch of money.”

Reminded by the financially savvy Peyton that he still could charge people who make that request, Johnson jumped at the chance to chuckle over a little dig at Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “Jerry’s already — he’s got the rights to it.”

Johnson was Trader Jimmy during his time with the Cowboys, pulling off the legendary 18-player trade of Hershel Walker. Now a Fox NFL analyst, Johnson was asked about the trade that got away — one involving Peyton — with Eli wondering sarcastically whether Peyton could have handled his “always calm” coaching style.

“I would have loved to have gotten Peyton, and I gave it a long thought, but we didn’t have enough ammunition to move up in the draft to get Peyton,” Johnson said of a nugget he revealed last year. “But, hey, it crossed my mind and I tried to do it, but I didn’t have enough draft picks.”

Enough about that. How about Sunday’s hottest topic — the butt punt? McAfee, a media personality and former punter who was Peyton’s teammate with the Indianapolis Colts, brought vivid clarity to what happened when Dolphins punter Thomas Morstead lined up to kick from his own end zone late in Miami’s victory over Buffalo. Morstead got off a booming punt directly into the buttocks of his nearest blocker, Trent Sherfield. The ball flew backward and out of the end zone for a safety.

Calling it “a nightmare situation” with the punter backed up in “155-degree heat” in South Florida, McAfee blamed Sherfield for giving Morstead no room.

“His a-- blocked that punt,” McAfee said accurately, if bluntly. “ … His cheeks are probably a little bruised up.”

Peyton returned to his quirky obsession with timeouts.

It was a little awkward, as Eli and McAfee pointed out, given Peyton’s history with the Broncos and the pressure that Hackett was under for his game management. During the Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the first Monday night game of the season, Manning nervously called for a timeout in the final minute. On Monday, he admitted that he also believes it’s a good idea to call a timeout “for the sake of using it” because they don’t carry over to the second half.

“Hey, hey, have you thought about Nathaniel Hackett watching that ‘Monday Night Football with Peyton Manning’ when you called 62 timeouts in his city, basically?” McAfee asked. “Have you thought about that?”

Eli dropped the mic on the Broncos topic, though, noting that the Denver offense hasn’t exactly taken off with the arrival of Russell Wilson and his gigantic contract. “They should have paid that punter $235 million instead of Russell.”

Later, Morgan wrapped things up with an appearance from the game in New Jersey. The comedian joked that he got his speed from Tony Dorsett, whom he claimed is his “biological father.” The Hall of Fame running back quickly shot down that notion on social media.

Morgan also used the appearance to ask Peyton what it was like going up against perhaps the greatest defensive player in NFL history, a worthy question except for one little problem.

“Peyton, what was it like playing against Lawrence Taylor?” Morgan asked.

“Uhhh, LT’s rookie year was 1982. I was 6,” Peyton replied.

Loading...