espn mnf wild card manningcast
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Wild Card playoff round will take on a new format this year in just the second season of the Super Wild Card Weekend.

The Super Wild Card Weekend is great, isn’t it?

Starting last season, the NFL included 14 teams in the playoffs (seven from each conference) instead of 12, which led to three Wild Card playoff games on both Saturday and Sunday of the usual Wild Card Weekend.

But starting this season (and for the next five years), the scheduling will change.

While there will still be six Wild Card games (three for each conference), two will be held on Saturday, three will be held on Sunday, and then ESPN will broadcast a Monday Night Football Wild Card matchup.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the news Wednesday morning, and here’s the kicker — this season’s MNF Wild Card game will include the alternate Manningcast with Eli and Peyton Manning.

As always, Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick will be on the call for the primary MNF broadcast.

From a fan perspective, I don’t like this format (with the exception of the Manningcast inclusion). It was great sitting on the couch at 1:00 p.m. ET on both Saturday and Sunday and just remaining there for over 10 hours straight while playoff football was on the screen right in front of you.

But I understand it — the league would rather have a game broadcast on Monday night instead of Saturday afternoon for ratings purposes. There’s obviously a larger possibility the majority of potential viewers are around to watch on a Monday at 8:15 p.m. than on a Saturday around the 1:00 p.m. window.

The Manningcast has been a big hit already and has brought on numerous big-name guests such as LeBron James, Nick Saban, and Russell Wilson. The duo hosted the alternate broadcast during Weeks 1, 2, and 3 and will return for the Week 7 MNF matchup between the Seahawks and Saints.

The MNF Wild Card game is set for Jan. 17, 2022. Remember, each playoff round is pushed back one week due to the new 17-game, 18-week regular season.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

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