The mating dance has ended. Peyton Manning will not join ESPN's "Monday Night Football" booth this season, sources tell Sporting News.
ESPN held out hope that Manning would fill the hole left by Jason Witten's return to the Cowboys. But barring a miracle, sources said, Manning will not be in the booth when "Monday Night Football" kicks off its historic 50th season, with a Texans-Saints/Broncos-Raiders doubleheader on Sept. 9.
During their last round of talks, Manning passed on joining Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters in the "Monday Night Football" booth. Instead, the two-time Super Bowl champion opted to host ESPN's new five-part, 30-episode series, "Peyton's Places," debuting on ESPN+ in July.