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ESPN is going to begin anew with its “Monday Night Football” booth, per a report by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch. The network will not bring back play-by-play broadcaster Joe Tessitore nor analyst Booger McFarland.
ESPN is going to have a new Monday Night Football booth. Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland will not return, via sources. The successors will be internal. No decision has been made yet. Both Tessitore and McFarland will remain in prominent roles at ESPN.
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) May 9, 2020
ESPN will hire within the company to replace them and the two will “remain in prominent roles at ESPN,” per the report. That confirms a New York Post report earlier this week that pegged Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Dan Orlovsky as in-house candidates for the job.
Last week, ESPN tapped Phil Dean, who has been with the network since 1992, to produce the weekly primetime game.
MNF booth a question mark for great slate of games
The MNF booth has been a question mark for quite a while. Jason Witten was not a hit with fans in his one year in the booth. He returned to the Dallas Cowboys last offseason. And McFarland got off to a bad start with viewers in the “Booger mobile,” which placed him at field level while commenting. It obstructed views and was retired for the 2019 schedule.
Whoever calls games this season will have a great schedule to work with after the NFL released it late last week in a three-hour show on ESPN. When “Monday Night Football” moved from ABC to ESPN, it seemingly took a backseat to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” in getting the best games of the week in primetime.
ESPN attempted to get Tony Romo, Peyton Manning
The company reportedly wanted to bring over Tony Romo from CBS, where he’s been a star since jumping into the booth a few years ago. Romo instead agreed to a record deal with CBS on the No. 1 broadcast team.
Then ESPN moved on to Peyton Manning, reportedly offering $18 to $20 million per year — higher than Romo’s $17M — to be its lead analyst. The dream was reportedly to combine Manning and play-by-play legend Al Michaels, currently of NBC, though that didn’t pan out either.
They’re still reportedly eyeing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees to take over once he retires.
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