Right Mannings for the job

Peyton Manning rarely made a bad decision as a quarterback. Heck, the worst thing you can say about his NFL career was he had the misfortune to overlap Belichick and Brady coming together and making Foxboro Football Xanadu.

In some ways, Manning is like Mickelson in that manner.

But on the field, Peyton was the picture of preparation and the Dean of Decision making.

Realizing the latter part of that sentence makes it of little surprise that Manning — through his company Omaha Productions — continues to make great decisions after football.

We have wondered for years when Manning would make the transition to the announcer's booth. He has dabbled with Peyton's Places, the football series he does with ESPN+, and found critical success there. He has partnered with older brother Cooper as host of a College Bowl quiz show and found success there.

Now comes another great call as he and younger brother Eli are teaming up to provide commentary for 10 ESPN "Monday Night Football" games during alternate broadcasts on ESPN2.  

True or false on a Tuesday, Peyton is going to be great at this. I think we all agree on that.

But this is the perfect way to slow walk into the lofty expectations that assuredly will face him in this endeavor.

He is on the second crew — which almost assuredly will allow the Mannings to use their dry sense of humor — and in the most comfortable spot possible.

Great call, Peyton, and we look forward to 10 games of great calls. And no matter what ESPN is ponying up, it's worth it because without saying a word, before now, he already is on the short list with Romo and Barkley as announcers who are appointment viewing.  

Omaha, Omaha, indeed.


Sankey speaks

We'd have this here, even if we weren't required to by the rules of the 5-at-10.

TFP all-around ace and SEC guru David Paschall is in Hoover for this week's SEC Media Days. Simply put, he is in his element.

And while we all want to hear from the coach of our favorite SEC school, the most important speaker this year was easily SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, who talked at length about the need for vaccinations.

He clearly side-stepped any questions even hinting at mandatory vaccines across the league, but I did see where if a team reaches an 85% vaccination rate — six of the 14 SEC teams are north of 80 — it will no longer have to administer daily COVID tests.

I am not for government-mandated vaccines, because once you start there, where do you draw the line for our entire populace?

That said, I could see a conference getting together and requiring vaccines of its football players, especially since it's a non-union sport that is not collectively bargained. Well, not yet at least.

And considering what all of college sports — especially the SEC — have at stake, you have to wonder how serious those conversations were at the league office.

Because Sankey is right there with Bill Hancock, the executive director of the College Football Playoff, as the dudes are wielding the most power in college sports' most powerful avenue.


Fear the Deer

Game 6 of the NBA Finals is tonight. The math is easy — Milwaukee wins and it's the NBA champ; Phoenix wins and there will be a Game 7 back in Arizona.

Simple right?

Well, the fallout is anything but.

Consider the fork in the road for stars and franchises here. Is it reasonable to expect either of these teams to make a return trip in the coming years? Maybe Milwaukee can match its postseason precision with a core of Middleton, Holiday and Giannis. Maybe. But the Suns have lived on borrowed and injury-riddled time.

They are not better than a full-go Lakers or Clippers. Heck, I'm not sure they are not better than a full-go Denver.

As for the biggest name on each side, the moment is now.

For Giannis, bringing a title to a market like Milwaukee makes you one of those dudes and forever a hero there.

For Chris Paul, well, the stakes are even greater. Who knows how many more runs he'll have as the lead guy on a title contender. (Yes, I think Devin Booker is their best player, but you know what I mean.)

And even more direct for Paul, he would be the first player in NBA history to lose four postseason series in which his team led 2-0.

On a career resume that is undeniably great, he can never be one of those guys with a line item like that.


This and that

— You know the rules. Here's more from Hoover from Paschall on LSU and Coach O.

— Here's today's A2 column on the gambling aspect of the upcoming Summer Olympics, which actually starts Wednesday in a few sports.

— You know the rules, Weeds on college hoops is always worth your time. Here is his take on Grace Keith, the UTC Hall of Famer who died earlier this month.

— Braves-Padres was rained out and reset for a Wednesday doubleheader.

— We're pretty consistent around these parts about the rules, and the restrictions and guidelines for the COVID preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games are rigorous and rigid and rightly so. But we can't find a spot on the roll for the mother/personal caregiver of a blind and deaf swimmer?

— We are about two more USA basketball defections from Gregg Popovich calling me to see if I can get to Tokyo for the weekend. Hey, I'm vaccinated. Zach LaVine is the latest Team USA player to be left home because of COVID protocols.


Today's questions

True or false, it's Tuesday. Hi Ernie.

True or false, Manning would have six Super Bowl rings if not for the Pats.

True or false, you will watch the Mannings over the regular ESPN Monday Night crew. True or false, Suns force Game 7.

True or false, AJ Minter's time in the A-T-L is done.

True or false, the SEC should require players to be vaccinated. You know the drill. Answer some T or Fs, leave some T or Fs.

As for today, July 20, let's review.

On this day 52 years ago, we landed on the moon. That was cool.

Rushmore of most forgotten folks in landmark moments, because Michael Collins, who stayed in the main ship as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, has to be on there.