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.