ESPN’s Manningcast curse has been undefeated — but will it continue for NFL playoffs?

Peyton Manning and Eli Manning did not play in the NFL in 2021, but remain undefeated against some of their elite quarterbacks. ESPN’s ManningCast curse for “Monday Night Football” began in Week 1 and didn’t stop for the entire season. Now the big question is whether the hex on the affected players will last until the 2022 NFL playoffs.

For the uninitiated, there is no doubt that the curse was real. Seven active players, five quarterbacks and two tight ends, were guests of Peyton and Eli. Six of them appeared between Weeks 1 and 8. Wisely, other players took notice and avoided the spectacle until Aaron Rodgers appeared during the final MNF regular season game, Browns-Steelers in Week 17.

There’s no question Rodgers wouldn’t have if the Packers hadn’t clinched the No. 1 seed after crushing the Vikings the day before. Although the Packers rested players for much of the Lions’ Week 18 matchup, Rodgers still started and took the “L” along with his team, making ManningCast curse 7-0 on the season.

The ManningCurse evidence is documented in depth here, but below is a quick summary of the mishaps:

  • Week 1: TE Travis Kelce and QB Russell Wilson: Chiefs and Seahawks lost in Week 2
  • Week 2: TE Rob Gronkwoski — Buccaneers lost in Week 3
  • Week 3: QB Matthew Stafford – The Rams lost in Week 4
  • Week 7: QB Tom Brady — Buccaneers lost (again!) in Week 8
  • Week 8: QB Josh Allen: Bills lost in Week 9 (to Josh Allen and the Jaguars)
  • Week 17: QB Aaron Rodgers: The Packers lost in Week 18 (to the Lions? Really?)

With the exception of Wilson and the Seahawks, the ManningCast cost five playoff teams six regular-season wins. That includes three of the top four seeds in the NFC, the No. 1 Packers, No. 2 Buccaneers and No. 4 Rams. In the AFC, the Chiefs are No. 2 and the Bills are No. 3. .

Knowing that, don’t expect anyone from the bye week Titans to come watch Cardinals-Rams, the first playoff Manning Cast on Monday night. The Bengals and Cowboys, winners as the No. 4 seed this weekend, shouldn’t want to participate either.

Yes, ManningCurse can be taken to a whole new level in the playoffs and make all the guests think hard about trying to challenge its power. Keep in mind that one of Peyton’s former teams, the Colts, collapsed in the last two weeks to miss the AFC playoffs. His other former team, the Broncos, fired their head coach, Vic Fangio. The same thing happened with Eli’s only former team, the Giants, who fired Joe Judge.

So there should be real concern for those five teams. Tennessee, Dallas and Cincinnati need all the help they can get on the field, especially the last two who haven’t been the big game in a long time. If one of those teams makes it to the Super Bowl by not being on the Manningcast, it could just be Peyton, Eli and Roger Goodell on every show next season.