Sean McDonough: Monday Night Football wasn’t fun, we got the worst games

Getty Images

When ESPN announced that Sean McDonough would no longer be the play-by-play voice on Monday Night Football, they tried to put a positive spin on it. McDonough himself is not putting such a positive spin on his tenure there.

McDonough told WEEI that he wasn’t enjoying himself working NFL games on Monday nights.

“As much as it was a great honor to be the voice of Monday Night Football — and you guys know me well enough, and certainly a lot of my friends and family do — it wasn’t a tremendous amount of fun the last two years,” McDonough said.

McDonough said he prefers college football, and also prefers big games, which the NFL won’t offer to ESPN. He also said the broadcasts revolved around his partner, Jon Gruden.

“If you go back and look at the schedule, generally we got one of the worst NFL games each week. You’re trying to make something sound interesting and exciting that isn’t,” he said. “For me, part of it was just the way the booth was set up the last two years. It was really geared around Jon Gruden. That’s not unusual, TV really is an analyst-driven medium. Jon had a particular set of skills that he did really well, and foremost among them was analyzing the play, breaking down the play, ‘here’s why they ran that play, here’s why it worked, here’s what this guy did or didn’t do.’ It was really football heavy, X and O heavy, and I think most play-by-play guys, all play-by-play guys, would’ve felt like a bit of a bystander.”

McDonough didn’t particularly sound like he was having fun in the booth, and Monday night broadcasts often dragged not because the game was poor but because the announcers were babbling about turkey holes when they should have been focused on the game. It may be best for all involved that Monday Night Football will have new announcers this year.

67 responses to “Sean McDonough: Monday Night Football wasn’t fun, we got the worst games

  1. Make them only inter division games would help.
    And realize fans watch for the game….not the announcers and their antics, not the special insight into all the other outside crap.
    No cutaways to the booth….no one cares or wants to see them.
    Replace that with timely replays and poignant sideline reporting.
    There is no need to hear from someone on the sideline who doesn’t have much to say.

  2. He was the most boring commentator i’ve ever heard call a football game. I remember asking in the middle of the season “Sometimes when watching MNF i wonder, does Sean McDonough even like football?” and it got a bunch of thumbs down.

    Well……there’s our answer. He didn’t. And it showed.

    Even if ESPN got the best NFL games, i have no idea why he ever got that role. Just wasn’t a good fit no matter what lame excuses he makes for not being good at it.

  3. When MNF was great the network picked the game. It was always a good one. Once the NFL changed that MNF went downhill.

  4. Back in the 70s, I couldn’t wait for Monday Night Football. You got to see the highlights at half of all the games that were played on Sunday, and they saved Monday night for the premier game of the week. Howard And Dandy Don.

  5. Disney had the shot back in 2006. They could have taken both Sunday and Monday nights, and that would have given them the flex scheduling that NBC currently enjoys. Mondays and Thursdays can’t move around, so if it looks like a great matchup when the schedule is made in April, but the teams have a major injury or tank early, then yeah – those two nights will have games that suck, while NBC can flex to no worse than the third best game of the weekend.

  6. I found this guy to be a stiff. Nothing to add, no sense of humor…a bore. I’ve got students who can deliver lines better than him. And he’s a product of nepotism. Good riddance

  7. “Monday Night really missed Mike Tirico.”

    No, it didn’t. Tirico is incredibly overrated.

  8. Nothing personal against McConough but he rarely sounded interested and beyond that I didn’t like his voice or his cadence. But he is right in that they definitely were handed games that were basically the nfl’s unwanted stepchildren.

  9. hahahaha this guy wasn’t doing games when MNF got saddled with 2 Jax homes games in the same season on MNF

    talk about a disaster

  10. ESPN will liven up the broadcast with a bunch of cocaine. “Woo we are here for probably the greatest matchup of all time, Colts Titans Octoberfest, Andrew Luck on the sideline with an arm but it is really hot in here so I am taking my shirt off *ripping noises* woo football”

  11. I loved the MNF games. I thought they were awesome. Gruden makes everything seem so exciting. He’s really a positive guy. I thought McDonough did what he was supposed to do, and he did it well. Whether it was Tirico or McDonough didn’t really matter to me. I liked to hear what Gruden had to say.

  12. MNF games used t be great matchups when it was on ABC. Now the games stink. The games on Thursdays also suck plus the teams have to wear those Halloween costumes when they play.

  13. McDonough is widely recognized as one of the premier play-by-play guys of his generation. You may not like his style, but he’s an absolute pro. Most guys wouldn’t be thrilled to stand in the shadows of the Gruden sideshow.

  14. You had a Steelers Bengals game and you turned it into a soap box for the league to go to flag football. Best news of the offseason so far, hearing you were relieved of Monday nights.

  15. I’ll be honest….I watch all Monday Night games (as well as any other games I can watch), and I have no idea who this guy is. His picture above isn’t helping me remember either. So he must be pretty boring/unmemorable.

  16. I loved the MNF games. I thought they were awesome. Gruden makes everything seem so exciting. He’s really a positive guy
    What!? A positive comment? Are you new to the internet? That’s not how this thing works.

  17. He’s got a point. The NFL has pretty much anointed Sunday Night Football as the Best game and allowed the Flex Scheduling to fix any mistakes made back when the schedule 1st comes out.

  18. McDonough sounds pretty whiny here. I am not a fan of the NFL front office, but they certainly do what they can to best protect their stars from injury, and yet last year, many of the big ones went down and MNF suffered for it.

  19. his words are ok but his voice is regional

    I recall the night he was literally killing the refs for ruining yet another game

    You knew the end was coming then

  20. And I so appreciated him making mnf terrible for the viewers. It’s a pity he still gets to work in the profession. He is without a doubt the absolute worst announcer I have ever had the pleasure of turning off. And since I was a kid, I NEVER turned off MNF before him.

  21. I’ve disliked Monday Night Football ever since Sunday Night Football became the premiere game of the week.

    I’m sorry but after watching one football game (my team) and possibly another game and family stuff by the time the evening comes around I have football (and general) fatigue by the time Sunday Night rolls around.

    It used to be that I’d have the Sunday game on in the background but since it wasn’t a premiere game I wouldn’t pay close attention to it unless the game became a fun one to watch. Then by the time Monday Night came around I was ready to watch football with friends or family after work and often times had been looking forward to the game all day. Now most of the time I don’t care about the Monday game and there’s less of a reason to gather on Monday night.

  22. Bring in people that have played the game for gods sake! Thursday night is just as bad but the one I hate the most is Michaels/Colllingsworthless/Toyota. Man I get sick of that crew!!I want people on their that isn’t scared to speak up! Like on an bad referee call! Hell might as well have Oprah and Degenerate on their at least I could get a laugh once in a while!

  23. Howard Cossell, Don Meredith, Frank Gifford, John Madden didn’t always get great games neither. I remember watching games broadcasted by these analysts. They made the game fun and insightful, knowledgeable even on blowout games. McDonough just didn’t have the voice and insight of the NFL. He literally put me to sleep.

  24. I’m still trying to figure out who this guy is. To me he seems like a male Kardashian – has done nothing with clothes on to warrant more than 99 cents in income. I perish the thought of what Sean looks like sans the textiles.

  25. Now that Tirico jerk – I’d like to send his face into another century.

  26. McDonough is widely recognized as one of the premier play-by-play guys of his generation. You may not like his style, but he’s an absolute pro. Most guys wouldn’t be thrilled to stand in the shadows of the Gruden sideshow

    Really? If he was so against the idea of being beside Gruden, then why accept the job? If he prefers to call college games and wasn’t really into the NFL, then why did he accept the job? If he can only do his job with enthusiasm for premier best-of-the-best matchups, and will just sit there nonchalantly un-enthusiastically calling games in a quiet bored monotone voice, does that make him an “absolute pro”? Seems to me like an “absolute pro” would do his job to the best of his capability regardless of the match. An “absolute pro” wouldn’t be sitting around whining about how terrible it was to do the job he was hired to do, trying to deflect blame for the fact that he just wasn’t very good.

    Doesn’t sound like an “absolute pro” to me.

  27. SM was horrible…..I thought he would have turned out better than what he produced on MNF. Need to send him to college football. Gus Johnson/Payton Manning

  28. Standing next to a guy screaming ‘Turkey hole’ and talking about a Gruden Grinder was a Human Resources event in the making.

  29. Is that a picture of Sean or the psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis from the Halloween movies?

  30. Dandy Don, Howard, and even Frank made the games interesting alright – but you’d never get away with the stuff they used to pull. Getting snockered or wired for live TV just doesn’t fly anymore. And inviting counterculture figures into the booth wouldn’t sit well with people either.
    That party’s definitely over.

  31. Well, he’s not wrong. It’s obvious that SNF is the prime time game of the week, and MNF gets the scraps.

  32. You missed the most salient point of his interview. He said that for the NFL games, everyone knows the players so the discussion is typically about down by down and less about the players. Ergo the analyst will play a bigger role. In college games, where I think he is very good, viewers are unfamiliar with most players and that allowed for more discussion on the individuals and the atmosphere and energy of college games is much higher making it more exciting regardless of the score.

  33. One thing I’ve always noticed is that no matter who does these broadcasts they get ripped.
    The NFL Games in general just kind of stunk lasts year and no matter who you put in it can’t make the Monday night games watchable for somebody that has to get up and go to work Tuesday Morning. Also, ESPN has no clue what real NFL Fans are looking for. Their biggest concern is with social justice so don’t be surprised if their is a female in the booth next year.

  34. Ohh Way Wah!! Worst broadcast team ever! Glad Gruden finally grew a pair & went back to coaching! Won’t miss him over-anylizing everything..and Macdonough was a Yawn absolute Bore! ESPN as a whole has made their bed..hopefully Suzy Culver can find new life somewhere else!

  35. First of all McDonough nice happy hour tan, next are you complaining about games ? You could count the number of attractive games for the whole season on one hand ! That was some mediocre football played last season

  36. joshhordonsbong: you are speaking of CBS and the article is about ESPN, do us a favor and put the bong down every now and then.

  37. No offense, Sean, but you made the games boring as well. I remember the first game I watched after this guy was hired and I couldn’t believe that ESPN would choose such a monotone announcer. No excitement in his voice. It was just pure boredom. There’s a reason Gruden was the focus. Like him or not, Gruden brings the heat every game and he does something that’s totally crazy……He takes a bad game and makes it interesting!!!!!!! It’s called talent.

  38. I’m old enough to remember the days when MNF was a major television event–Cosell, Meredith, Gifford, and all the glitter and gloss of a weekly star-studded show that was bigger than football. It was celebrity-driven and drew huge ratings every week. Today, MNF has become stale, boring, and not must-see television at all. It’s sad to see how far down it’s sunk in the American consciousness.

  39. I know he wasn’t Madden or Cosell or the great Pat Summerall, but McDonough wasn’t really that bad. What made things seem so bad was the terrible schedule, Gruden’s descent into utter insanity, and the bogus ESPN charade that turned the production on its end. The games were boring, the production seemed stale from the start, and McDonough and Gruden didn’t get along. Tirico knew how to handle Gruden and is one of the best playcallers in the game, so we shouldn’t be shocked that McDonough wouldn’t have worked as well. Not to mention that Gruden, the guy ESPN built its production around, had one foot out the door anyway.

    My point is that I’m not sure whomever replaced Mike Tirico would have done a much better job than McDonough. There’s a reason Tirico left, and it wasn’t just because he wanted a bigger check.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.