Last week’s episode of ManningCast with Peyton & Eli featured one of the biggest celebrities in the world — literally. The QB brothers welcomed Arnold Schwarzenegger onto the broadcast, and fans are already saying the actor, bodybuilder, and politician has been one of the wildest guests in the show’s history.
The ManningCast, which is produced in a partnership between ESPN and Omaha Productions (the company founded by Peyton Manning and media exec Jamie Horowitz), is known for its blend of football expertise, pop culture, and comic relief. The Mannings have invited many celebrities to be guests on the show and talk football (and sometimes veer off-topic if the game drags), including Will Ferrell, Jon Stewart, Kevin Hart, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and President Barack Obama.
Fans never know exactly what to expect when Peyton and Eli’s guests appear live to comment on Monday Night Football. Arnold’s appearance during the Chargers v. Jets game was a rollercoaster of laughs and unexpected moments as The Terminator star swung from storyteller — telling an outrageous yarn while a wild play was taking place on the field — to soothsayer making a stunningly accurate prediction which landed him on the Mannings’ “Perfect Prediction Panel.”
And then there was the donkey.
Below, we recap a few of the most memorable moments from Schwarzenegger’s appearance on ManningCast this week.
Arnold Makes the Perfect “Perfect Prediction”
The ManningCast is in its 3rd season (it won an Emmy in each of the first 2) and at the beginning of each new season it adds a new device to the broadcast. This season, the Omaha Productions team added a “Perfect Prediction Panel” to the show. If a guest can perfectly predict how a team will score, Eli Manning will take a FatHead of the guest and place it on the board as confetti comes down. Several have succeeded this season but no one did it like Arnold.
Just a few minutes after joining the show, Peyton and Eli gave the former Governor the opportunity to predict a big play, and Arnold hit the nail on the head. On 3rd and 1, Schwarzenegger predicted that the Charger’s Austin Ekeler would run the ball in for a touchdown from 21 yards out.
And then, it happened.
The call was then reversed when the refs ruled Ekeler down inches from the endzone. But Ekeler then did score, earning Arnold the top spot on the Mannings’ “Perfect Predection Panel.”
Peyton and Eli gave Arnold his due applause for a shockingly precise call.
“‘It’s unbelieveable. He’s amazing,” Eli said as he placed Schwarzenegger’s picture at the top of the leader board.
Arnold’s Donkey Steals the Show
The glory of his perfect prediction wasn’t the most memorable part of his appearance. Livestock met live broadcast on Monday night as Scwharzenegger’s donkey, Lulu, wandered into the shot in hopes of stealing a snack from the FUBAR star. Arnold was happy to oblige, and for possibly the first time ever, Eli Manning was speechless.
Both brothers watched as a smiling Schwarzenegger feed his pet donkey, whose head dominated nearly the entire screen.
However, it wasn’t long before Eli came to his senses and took the opportunity to take a jab at his brother.
“That donkey looks like you eating, Peyton!” he joked.
The donkey wandered off, and soon after, Arnold followed. He delivered his signature line as the show went to commercial — he literally said “I’ll be back” — but then the former governor disappeared during the commercial break.
Peyton offered a possible explanation for Arnold’s exit: “That donkey ate the heck out of [his] Wi-Fi.”
Omaha Productions Keeps ManningCast Fresh with Hit Guests
ManningCast continues to power through its third season on ESPN2, and its superstar guests are partially to thank. Peyton and Eli are more popular than when they played in the NFL — they’re genuinely likable and laugh-out-loud funny. Adding big celebrities into the mixoften makes the broadcast more entertaining than the football game itself.
The ManningCast is produced by Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. Despite being just over 2 years old, Omaha Productions has become a powerhouse in sports media, producing hits like Netflix’s Quarterback, The Pat McAffee Show, and the ManningCast among many others.
While Peyton Manning’s drive and connections are the foundation of the brand, a lot of credit goes to ManningCast co-creator Jamie Horowitz.
Jamie Horowitz is a former VP at ESPN and former President of Fox Sports. Today, he’s Peyton’s partner at Omaha Productions. He is responsible for producing some of the top sports talk shows of the last 20 years, including hit shows like SportsNation, First Take, Numbers Never Lie, and Undisputed.
Horowitz is the producer who helped guide the meteoric rise of a variety of sports personalities, including Colin Cowherd, Shannon Sharpe, and Stephen A Smith. Horowitz championed the idea of putting big personalities front and center and focusing on their opinions over stats and analysis. And you couldn’t ask for better personalities than Peyton and Eli.
The ManningCast, averages between 1 and 2 million viewers and perhaps more notably, the average ManningCast watcher is six years younger than a typical Monday Night Football viewer. It’s certainly a success story for Omaha Productions and a benchmark for modern sports media and now includes an iconic appearance from Arnold Schwarzenegger and a donkey named Lulu.