Over the course of his glittering NFL career, we’ve become accustomed to seeing Peyton Manning throwing bombs on the football field, not laying them on the big stage.
Comedy, as Manning learned during his opening monologue as host of the 25th ESPYs Wednesday night in Los Angeles, can be hard. Harder even than standing strong in the face of a collapsing pocket. But it can also produce some hard stares, as Manning learned, when you take some playful jabs at audience members.
That’s what Manning experienced in taking a swipe at Kevin Durant, the NBA Finals MVP who beat out Tom Brady in the best championship performance category, when he suggested Durant was interested in joining the dominant USA women’s gymnastics team.
Cut to Durant: Stone face.
Then when Manning suggested Durant might not even start on that team, he drew a some groans from the crowd when he asked Russell Westbrook what he thought of that idea.
Cut to Westbrook: Stone face, the sequel.
Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark.
But there was one dissenting opinion from none other than Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman, who spoke when the Super Bowl champion Patriots were recognized for Best Game.
“I never thought I’d say this, but Manning is kinda killing it,” Edelman said. “We are indoors, though.”
Here’s the ESPN video of Manning’s monologue, which included that awkward comedic (we think) moment.