Mon. May 20th, 2024

In perhaps the most memorable game of his entire career, Eli Manning led his New York Giants to a 17-14 victory in Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots. At the time, the Patriots were 18-0 and attempting to join the 1974 Miami Dolphins as only the second undefeated team in NFL history. Manning’s Giants secured the upset victory on a game-winning fourth-quarter touchdown drive punctuated by David Tyree’s improbable “helmet catch” and a 13-yard touchdown catch by Plaxico Burress. 

Although the game took place over ten years ago, Eli still remembers that night well. So does A-list celebrity and die-hard Boston fan Mark Wahlberg, an award-winning actor who has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe and Academy Awards.

Wahlberg made an appearance during the first quarter of the recent Chiefs-Eagles Monday Night Football Game on the ManningCast alongside Eli and his brother, Peyton. He discussed his appearance in the 2006 film “Invincible,” along with his status as an honorary Philadelphian and, yes, his bitter memories of his beloved Patriots’ loss in Super Bowl XLII. 

“That 18-1 season really destroyed us. But I’m very much still a fan of both you guys,” Wahlberg noted during the broadcast. However, he was quick to point out his ongoing hate for the New York Giants shortly afterward.

Wahlberg joins a long list of stars from inside and outside the world of sports to appear on the ManningCast. This year, the ManningCast has hosted Will Ferrell, Jimmy Kimmell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Patrick Mahomes, and Caitlin Clark. Currently in its third season, ManningCast averages between one and two million viewers each week with an average viewer six years younger than Monday Night Football’s typical audience. Despite the incredible success both Manning brothers experienced during their playing careers, many would argue that they are more popular as sports media figures than they ever were as starting quarterbacks.

Although Peyton and Eli are the key to the success of the ManningCast, Jamie Horowitz and the creative team producing the show help make the show feel like an unpredictable must-see live event. Horowitz’s involvement with Omaha Productions dates back to 2020, when the former Fox and ESPN executive flew to Denver alongside Josh Pyatt to pitch Peyton Manning on an idea for a new sports media company. Pyatt had helped Kobe Bryant and LeBron James launch their media careers, while Horowitz had famously guided the rise of Stephen A. Smith, Shannon Sharpe, and Colin Cowherd. 

Initially, Manning was hesitant to move forward with the idea of a new company. However, Jamie Horowitz and Josh Pyatt ultimately sold him on a vision for a company that reflected his values. They believed Manning could produce content that would bring people together, which is exactly what Omaha Productions has done during its first few years of existence. 

Jamie Horowitz’s unique creativity dates back far beyond the creation of Omaha Productions. While working at ESPN in the early 2010’s, Horowitz recognized that the network’s debate-style programming often outperformed other types of content during the day. This insight led him to redesign many of the platform’s offerings, such as First Take, to feature more debate segments, and was the catalyst behind the ongoing movement in the sports media industry to prioritze on-air debates. 

Omaha Productions produces several hit shows in addition to ESPN2’s ManningCast. The company is responsible for Netflix’s widely popular Quarterback docuseries along with Eli’s Places and Peyton’s Places on ESPN+. The company employs over 40 people and took on an investor earlier this year who valued Omaha at over $400 million.

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