Kurt Warner apparently comes in second for MNF (and possibly isn’t happy about it)

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Before ESPN leaked to ESPN last week that Cowboys tight end Jason Witten plans to retire and join the Monday Night Football booth, Kurt Warner had been viewed as the clubhouse favorite to get the gig. The cat was so far out of the bag that Warner made a joke about looking first at the MNF schedule at the outset of NFL Network’s schedule release show last month.

On Thursday morning, ESPN leaked to ESPN that Witten was indeed joining ESPN. And that news invites speculation as to the impetus of the following tweet from Warner, posted late Wednesday afternoon: “I remember the days growing up believing the BEST person for the job — not race, not gender, not age, not pedigree  — led to gaining position… trying to figure out if it ever TRULY applied (thinking I was just a naive kid) but, if so, how did we get so backwards!?”

If Warner was the fallback choice to Witten and if ESPN was ready to leak to ESPN as of Thursday morning that Witten would be joining ESPN, it’s possible if not probable if not most likely that Witten made his decision and communicated it to ESPN on Wednesday at the latest, and that Warner would have gotten word that he has won silver in a gold-medal-only contest at some point on Wednesday as well. So if Warner knew ESPN was going with Witten before Warner posted his tweet (and it would be a surprise if Warner didn’t), it’s fair to think there was a connection between his sentiment and his situation.

If that’s the case, it’s definitely a break from Warner’s vanilla-ice-cream-in-a-Styrofoam-cup image. If he’d eventually bring some of that candor to a TV broadcast booth, that would actually make Warner — who has far more TV experience than Witten and far more experience calling games as a radio analyst for Westwood One — the better choice.

Warner may be miffed that the tiebreaker wasn’t skill or experience but the fact that Witten played for the Dallas Cowboys. Never mind that Witten never played in a conference championship game or a Super Bowl. The Cowboys are still America’s Team, and they now have three former players who are perched in some of the most prominent spots in broadcasting, with Troy Aikman as the lead analyst at FOX (for Sunday and Thursday), Tony Romo as the lead analyst at CBS, and Witten as the lead analyst for Monday Night Football.

But we’re willing to handle this as a meritocracy. Answer the poll question below regarding whether it should be Witten or Warner on Monday Night Football.

59 responses to “Kurt Warner apparently comes in second for MNF (and possibly isn’t happy about it)

  1. *Kurt Warner apparently comes in second…

    Actually Witten was second and Warner was third.

    Olsen leveraged the position to get an extension from the Panthers. If the Panthers didn’t blink the job was his.

  2. Would prefer Warner, maybe it’s just my naive way of thinking, but I feel a QB is able to offer insight to the commentary you just don’t get from players at other skill positions. As the person who runs the offense on the field, QBs are responsible for knowing a little bit about every positions route tree, assignment, etc. On top of that, they offer feedback on the play of other QBs that a lineman or a TE just isn’t able to do. I really feel like Warner should’ve gotten the job, I’m not saying that Witten shouldn’t get a shot at a commentary gig somewhere down the line, but I feel like Warner provides the opportunity for insight fans actually want to hear, beyond just being a TV personality.

  3. Best thing about Warner that I recall is how the Rams and Dick Vermeil all viewed Warner as merely a stop-gap, unproven, unremarkable back-up QB they signed from NFL Europe. Those tears Vermeil cried when Trent Green went down were tears about how Vermeil saw that the Rams’ season was going from a possible contender with his franchise QB Trent Green to get to the playoffs to where he was crying about how he and his team was now in toilet.
    We all know how Warner saved Vermeil and gave St Louis their Super Bowl championship.
    Warner has been looked down on by most decision makers for most of his life. When he was signed with the Packers as an UFA, Warner admits he was terrible and could not even execute basic plays, something Farve still rags on Warner over.
    My point is for Warner, getting screwed by the idiots at ESPN is not going to be a big thing as everyone expects ESPN to keep moving towards the bottom end of the toilet and Warner is better off not getting dragged along.

  4. At least the Cowboys won at something lately. Warner deserves it over Witten

  5. The absolute worst ever is Romo. Him Tipping the plays every time sucks.

  6. If you’ve listened to Warner do a broadcast game he’s VERY good. No idea about Jason, but having heard Warner do over 10 games on the radio…he’d be great in the booth. He’s also very good working with the other announcer and is t competitive over stats which many are. He’s very good if you haven’t heard him.

  7. Anyone else notice the irony of a “meritocracy vs. popularity contest” article having a user poll slapped on the end of it?

  8. Someone should inform ESPN that the Cowboys stopped being America’s team about the time Jimmy Johnson departed. They’ve got a ridiculously big stadium now…that’s all. That’s it.

    Romo doesn’t suck so I guess that means we will now expect every Cowboy that can speak in complete sentences to be in the broadcast booth.
    Radio simulcast, here we come.

  9. Neve heard Jason Whiten broadcast or be a talking head on sports TV….Kurt is prettu insightful and has no real annoying speaking habits. I think I would have gone with experience over a rookie.

  10. Who cares… The self proclaimed football maven Arians starts his career on CBS.
    Heaven help us all.

  11. No offense to Kurt, but a white guy complaining about losing out based on something other than merit is irony to the 10th power.

  12. Mr. Wright 212 says:
    May 3, 2018 at 10:53 am
    Witten shouldn’t be in the HOF, either.


    0 0 Rate This


    I don’t agree. Outside of Gronk, Gates and Gonzalez, he’s the been the best, most consistent 2 way TE in the NFL in the last 20 years.

    And, his QBs have kind of sucked along the way, too. Romo was the best he had, but Romo is overrated by Cowboys fans. He looked the part like Cutler, but oh boy, was he bad at times, too.

  13. Warner is 9-4 in the postseason won a SB and played in another

    Witten is 2-6 in the postseason

    Why would they go with witten?

  14. nhpats says:
    May 3, 2018 at 11:16 am
    Warner is 9-4 in the postseason won a SB and played in another

    Witten is 2-6 in the postseason

    Why would they go with witten?
    Why does any of that matter when it comes to announcing?

    Bart Starr was the MVP of 2 Super Bowls but was absolutely dreadful as a announcer.

  15. America’s team? Nope. Pats ain’t it neither.

    Warner for MNF booth vote here. He’s proven to be good at the job.

  16. Consider this…Warner has been in TV for years now,paid his dues,worked his way up and when a top gig comes up like the MNF,why would they hire a player that has to immediately retire to get that job?

  17. Genuine question, he was a good player but does Jason Witten have a personality? He just seems like a generic white former Cowboy who will only be noteworthy if he’s terrible.

    Kurt Warner didn’t “deserve” the job either. Nobody “deserves” this job. As a viewer, I’m just hoping he’s not terrible like some past choices have been. I can’t imagine a scenario in which he’s “great”.

  18. Sorry Kurt. We know you’re better. Jason Witten is one of those former Cowboys and we have to have all of them crammed down our throats as viewers whether we like it or not. To be fair, I think Troy Aikman and Moose Johnston are good listens but Michael Irvin, for heavens’ sake NO!

  19. it’s definitely a break from Warner’s vanilla-ice-cream-in-a-Styrofoam-cup image.


  20. to whoever said “Kurt Warner is a snore,” you just exposed yourself as someone who doesn’t appreciate excellent commentary. I sincerely feel sorry for you.

  21. I don’t like his analogy in this context but I understand Warner’s frustration. I also think he has to understand the compettion between ESPN and NFL Network is contentious (behind the scenes) it probably hurt his chances because his face is so well known. I’m not saying Warner was the face of NFL Network but when you see him, you either connect the dots to NFL Network, Greatest Show on Turf or getting lit up in the Sains playoff.

    They get to build Witten from the ground up, his is a new face, he’s coachable and well-liked so people will forgive any early mistakes he makes on camera.

  22. It’s good to see they made warner check his qb privilege. Im tired of all this qb supremacy in the tv booths. #ALLPOSITIONSMATTER

  23. Had a hard time listening to Romo this year
    Better he broke in not on national TV
    Warner deserve the gig
    He is far more interesting to listen to during the down time

  24. Can Jason Witten offer us the same insight as his former teammate, Quarterback Tony Romo?
    Of course not. One wouldn’t mind a TE (tight end) perspective on the game, now and again, via invite into the booth, but a quarterback will always serve as Mr. Know-It-All when it comes to the gridiron. A spot like Tony Gonzalez on FOX is far more appropriate for a tight end.

    Greg Olsen, please don’t hate me — I still love you with the Cam-rolina Panthers.

  25. fcoprado says:
    May 3, 2018 at 11:37 am
    Consider this…Warner has been in TV for years now,paid his dues,worked his way up and when a top gig comes up like the MNF,why would they hire a player that has to immediately retire to get that job?


    None of these ex-jocks really pay their dues when it comes to TV. They are given jobs many try for years being journalist to get. When it comes to TV experience doesn’t matter, only ratings.

  26. Witten may be good, so it is hard to really say, but I have heard Warner call games and know he is good at it. Although, having the perspective from another position may be nice.

  27. Here’s a novel idea- how about pairing Witten and Warner to go with Tessitore and try a 3 man announce team?

  28. Warner’s Tweet is odd in that it doesn’t even entertain the possibility that Witten was objectively better in the booth than Warner. It’s a plea for meritocracy. But what if meritocracy caused the result he’s decrying?

  29. BuckyBadger says:
    They are given jobs many try for years being journalist to get.

    — Have you seen some of the stuff that passes for “Journalism” these days?

  30. ESPN screwed the pooch with their Cowpie obsession…the poll numbers don’t lie. Speaking in general, football fans, for the most part, are fond of both Kurt Warner and Jason Witten because they’re both classy, articulate, amicable guys.

    But one played for the loser Dallas teams of the aughts and the other went from the Barnstormers to the Greatest Show On Turf. Led not one, but two historically moribund franchises to Super Bowl appearances. Newsflash ESPN: most of football-loving America…hates the Cowboys. How exactly are they “America’s Team” then?!??? Stupid decision.

  31. What “merit” could a guy who has never worked in TV or called a game have over a guy with over 5 yrs experience in the industry?? And how could one ascertain that Witten is “objectively better”? Studio tryouts aren’t equivalent to live games. And one or two test runs do not equate to a body of work, a true resume and track record of proven aptitude. Warner possesses that…Witten is a former Cowboy fresh off the gridiron.

    Edge to Witten???? Wtf!?!? How you figure lol

  32. It’s good to see they made warner check his qb privilege. Im tired of all this qb supremacy in the tv booths. #ALLPOSITIONSMATTER

    I’m keeled over dying…you win the internet for eternity! I surrender! ROFLMFAO

  33. boyzfan says:
    May 3, 2018 at 10:25 am
    Waaaaaaaa. No way he should be in the HOF either. He owes his entire career to Trent Green.


    another well educated cowboys fan. you guys always add so much to the conversation!

  34. Just wait til ESPN finds out Jason Witten wasn’t a quarterback

  35. How about pairing Romo and Witten and have them do nothing but Cowboys broadcasts ?

  36. Being a Dallas Cowboy has its perks. It is a fact of life. Free agents, think about life after football and the opportunities that being a former Dallas Cowboy will have on your marketability. Be smart and going the Cowboys as it truly has its advantages. The proof is out there.

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