The best of Phil Mickelson on Manningcast: Eli’s ‘cute’ swing and ‘I am soft’
Phil Mickelson, a few years back during a photo shoot with Callaway, eyed his target, took his arms back — and threw a football. Ahead of the 2019 NFL draft, he tweeted out another video of QB Phil. While not necessarily extraordinary, how he did it was. Tight spiral. Throws that went as long as one of his lob wedges. The six-time major champion can sling it.
“Damn! Lefty’s got an arm!” one commenter wrote on the Callaway post.
“He can start for Jacksonville,” another said.
And this from Righty (the left-handed golfer is a natural right-hander and throws that way):
On Monday night, in a way, it was.
Fresh off his fourth victory in just six events on the Champions Tour, Mickelson joined two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, brothers Peyton and Eli Manning, as part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football With Peyton & Eli broadcast of the Los Angeles Rams-San Francisco 49ers game. It was also both a golf reunion — Mickelson had played against Peyton during the second and third editions of the Match — and a preview — Mickelson will also announce the fifth edition, a matchup between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
“I’m happy to be on,” Mickelson said when he joined the broadcast near the start of the second quarter. “So let’s talk some football, too.”
With that, here are the five best moments from Mickelson’s over-20-minute appearance during the second quarter on the “Manningcast.”
‘I am soft’
ESPN also showed the video that Mickelson had tweeted.
“I’ve seen a lot of videos of you throwing the football and honestly it looks pretty good,” Eli Manning said. “What I see is No. 1, it comes out good. Kind of two questions. In the video, you’re wearing your glove because a lot of times you’re on the golf course. Do you always wear the glove? And No. 2, you throw right-handed. What’s the deal with that? That kind of shocked me a little bit.”
“Yeah, so I like to wear a glove so I’m ready for all weather conditions,” Mickelson said. “I like a quick release. But here’s the thing — I am soft. I don’t like getting hit, I don’t like getting tackled, and I don’t like the viciousness of football. I can admit it — I don’t want nothing to do with the hits that you guys are taking. I’ve never been in a game that’s so vicious as the NFL or something like that. So golf is right up my alley.”
Peyton Manning revealed that when he played with the Indianapolis Colts, Mickelson was part of their offensive snap count. As was another golfer.
“I don’t know if you know this, but in Indianapolis, before I said Omaha, we actually had your name into our offense,” Peyton Manning said. “We had a snap count called Tiger. And a snap count called Phil. It’s really irrelevant which one was on one and which one was on two — you were in the Colts offense. How does that make you feel?”
“Like a Hall of Fame player,” Mickelson said. “Yeah, it was the year you lost the Super Bowl and finished as second as well. So I remember that year well — I was pulling for you to win and …”
Toward the end of the first half, and with Eli Manning hitting golf balls in his at-home simulator, Peyton Manning asked Mickelson what play he thought the Rams would run.
“Eli is hitting balls in the simulator right now, Phil,” Peyton Manning said. “Love your analysis on that later. But we’re in the red zone. We don’t really need Eli. Phil, you and I can do this. Actually, you can do this. What do you like now that you’re in the red zone with the Rams?”
“Well, I think we talked about it,” Mickelson said. “We’re going to run it up the middle and try and take a little time off the clock and try and play against their weakness.”
As he was talking, the Rams ran it.
“There you go,” Mickelson said. “So it seems like the coaches for the Rams know football, too.”
“There it is, Phil,” Peyton Manning said. “On cue.”
‘It’s a cute little swing’
As promised, Mickelson broke down Eli Manning’s swing.
“All right, Phil, we’ve been analyzing football. Your chance to analyze Eli’s swing,” Peyton Manning said. “Tell us about it.”
“All right, let’s see,” Mickelson said. “Well, I mean overall, one word to describe it is cute. I think it’s a cute little swing.”
“Cute?” Eli Manning said.
“The club is a little behind him and low going back so his arms are not in front of him. They get a little bit too flat. So he has to use all of his athleticism to square the face. It’s a pretty good golf swing.
“Like I said, it’s cute.”
‘Phil Mickelson understands the assignment’
After returning from the first commercial with Mickelson, ESPN flashed a tweet from former player-turned broadcaster Pat McAfee that said: “Phil Mickelson understands the assignment.” From the start, Mickelson showed he has more than a passing interest in football, and he picked the brains of the Mannings.
“Some great football questions Phil has asked,” Peyton Manning said.
He asked what a quarterback looks for at the line of scrimmage: “So let me ask you this because I’m really curious. As you’re coming up to the line of scrimmage, you’re Jimmy Garoppolo [the 49ers quarterback]. What are you looking at, Peyton? What are you seeing in the defense, and what are you trying to do?”
He asked about 49ers rookie running back Elijah Mitchell: “So looking at the Niners, I know they’ve struggled a little bit. And No. 25 there, Elijah Mitchell, he came in as a sixth-round draft pick and beat out Trey Sermon from Ohio State as a third-round pick and you see this happen where a lot of guys come in who are lower draft picks or what have you and they outplay people ahead of them. What about Elijah Mitchell, what about players who are drafted later in the rounds gets them to propel into the starting lineup? Is it heart? Is it work ethic? Intellect? What do you guys see?”
He asked about Von Miller, a former teammate of Peyton Manning’s who was recently traded for by the Rams: “So let me ask you this: When you came back and played for Denver and Von Miller was there — he had just been drafted, I believe, and you guys played together. And he just got acquired by the Rams. What does he bring to this Rams defense on the field that we see, or off the field that you see that nobody else does?”
He asked whether the Rams should consider running the football: “I got a football question here, all right. The Rams, their strength, they’re the third passing offense. They’re an awesome passing team. But you lose Robert Woods, you don’t have the chemistry with a new receiver. So do they play to their strength, or do they, down 14, go against the opposing team’s weakness, which is the run. San Francisco is almost last in stopping the run. Would you consider running the football, trying to get a little more physical and try to control the game and keep it close, playing to their weakness, or playing to your strength. What would you say?”
He asked about Odell Beckham Jr., a former teammate of Eli Manning’s who was also recently acquired by the Rams: “So OBJ just came to the Rams. Eli, you spent a lot of time with him in New York. What does he bring to the Rams. Maybe not tonight because they haven’t had a chance to work with their chemistry? Why did he struggle or not play his best in Cleveland, and why is that going to be different for him here with the Rams?”
He asked about Matthew Stafford, who is in his first year with the Rams: “So Stafford comes over to the Rams, they’re playing great, they’re 7-2 this year. What is different with the Rams offense with Matthew Stafford as it was with Jared Goff. I mean, Goff took them to the Super Bowl. What is different with Stafford? Why are they better?”