By: Will Burchfield
Peyton Manning hosted the 25th ESPY Awards on Wednesday night and his opening monologue was one to remember.
As a distinguished athlete himself, Manning had the grounds to target anyone and everyone in the star-studded crowd. He took full advantage.
His best joke came at the expense of Kevin Durant. Durant, who jumped ship from the Thunder to the Warriors last summer, wasn’t exactly amused.
Just about everyone else was.
But Peyton was no one-hit wonder.
Here he is making fun of the Falcons and their epic collapse in Super Bowl LI: “I know in my heart the Falcons will be back, and I want the Falcons to hear that form me now, at the beginning of the show, because I know they’ll stop paying attention three-quarters of the way in,”
Here he is getting simultaneous digs on John Cena and Ryan Lochte, the latter of whom triggered an international scandal by lying about an incident at the Rio Olympics.
Throughout his monologue, Manning acted as if he was being coerced into telling jokes he didn’t like. A number of them made fun of the Knicks.
“Kristaps Porzinings couldn’t believe how dysfunctional it is at Madison Square Garden — and that dude grew up in Latvia,” Manning cracked.
Manning also made fun of himself. He joked about how many endorsements he has, while simultaneously giving each of those endorsements a plug.
Manning begrudgingly congratulated the Patriots on their Super Bowl victory…
…and later got a taste of his own medicine when Julian Edelman fired back during his acceptance speech for the Best Game award.
A full list of this year’s winners is below.
Best Male Athlete: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Best Female Athlete: Simone Biles, Gymnastics
Best Team: Golden State Warriors
Best Play: Aaron Rodgers’ Pass to Jared Cook vs. Dallas Cowboys
Best Championship Performance: Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Best Breakthrough Athlete: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Best Record-Breaking Performance: Michael Phelps, 28 Career Olympic Medals
Best Upset: Mississippi State def. Connecticut, Women’s College Basketball
Best Game: New England Patriots def. Atlanta Falcons, Super Bowl LI
Best Moment: Chicago Cubs win 2016 World Series
Best NFL Player: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Best Female U.S. Olympic Athlete: Simone Biles, Gymnastics
Best Coach: Bob Hurley Sr., St. Anthony High School
Best WNBA Player: Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
Best Male College Athlete: Deshaun Watson, Clemson
Best Female College Athlete: Kelly Barnhill, Florida
Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Mark McMorris, Snowboarding
Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Anna Gasser, Snowboarding
Best Male U.S. Olympic Athlete: Michael Phelps, Swimming
Best Male Athlete with a Disability: Steve Serio, Wheelchair Basketball
Best Female Athlete with a Disability: Becca Meyers, Paralympic Swimming
Best Comeback Athlete: Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers
Best International Athlete: Usain Bolt, Runner
Best NBA Player: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Best MLB Player: Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
Best NHL Player: Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Best Driver: Lewis Hamilton, Formula One
Best Fighter: Demetrious Johnson, UFC
Best Male Golfer: Sergio Garcia
Best Female Golfer: Ariya Jutanugarn
Best Male Tennis Player: Roger Federer
Best Female Tennis Player: Serena Williams
Best MLS Player: David Villa, New York City FC
Best Jockey: John Velazquez
Best Bowler: Jason Belmonte