Keeping Score

Eli Manning for SNL? Really?

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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy as he attends a ceremony in honor of the Giants' win in the NFL Super Bowl XLVI, at City Hall Plaza in New York. February 7, 2012. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

Eli Manning no longer needs any quarterbacking tips from big brother Peyton. But he can probably use a comedy lesson from him.On May 5 Eli, the Super Bowl MVP, will host SNL  - Rihanna is the musical guest. There’s a lot to like about Eli. But he doesn’t exactly rip up a room. He’s a notoriously sheepish, lead-by-example type. And that’s not a great recipe for laughs. Peyton put his more extroverted personality on display during his winning SNL appearance after his 2007 Super Bowl win. His skit lampooning the earnest NFL – United Way commercials was a classic. (“OK, I’m sorry. Do you want to lose?”)

(MORE: Top 10 Dubious Saturday Night Live Hosts)

We’d call a hilarious Eli hosting gig an upset, on par with his win over New England in Super Bowl XLII, when the Pats were a perfect 18-0. To be fair, Eli has shown some potential. In an ESPN commercial, Eli went shot-for-shot with Peyton while the Manning family received a studio tour (but do notice how Peyton got the punch line, a walloping kick of Eli’s calf). In this NBC spot for a Colts-Giants Sunday night game, Eli shoves Peyton into a closet as they leave the house for the game: his devilish smile drew a few laughs.

Still, Eli is an underdog here. To start, athletes have been notoriously bad SNL hosts (see Derek Jeter or Michael Phelps or Tom Brady). At this point, however, their awfulness is part of the joke, which will likely endear Eli to the audience. We’d bet good money that the SNL writers are thinking of a clever way to incorporate Peyton into a guest spot. (May we suggest, during the monologue, Eli opening things up to audience questions – a common SNL gimmick that we enjoy – only to see Peyton sitting there, acting like an obnoxious, jealous big brother).

During games, Peyton can’t help Eli on the football field – not that he needs it. But it might take a save from big bro for Eli to avoid a dismal SNL appearance.

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