ESPN makes Monday Night Football crew official, will call Jon Gruden’s debut

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As expected, ESPN has announced that the crew calling Monday Night Football this season will be play-by-play man Joe Tessitore, former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten in the booth, former Buccaneers and Colts defensive tackle Booger McFarland as an on-field analyst, and Lisa Salters as the sideline reporter.

One unexpected piece of news in ESPN’s announcement: The new Monday night team will debut when the Rams face the Raiders in Oakland in the late game of the Week One Monday Night Football doubleheader. In every previous year that the NFL has had two Week One Monday night games, the top commentating team has worked the early game and a backup crew has worked the late game. This year ESPN apparently figured there would be synergy with having its new team work former announcer Jon Gruden’s return to Oakland, and also figured that the Rams-Raiders game would be better than the Lions-Jets game earlier in the night.

ESPN has not yet announced who will call the Lions-Jets game.

After Gruden left to return to coaching, ESPN decided to make significant changes to the Monday night crew, moving play-by-play man Sean McDonough to college football and bringing in Tessitore as his replacement, then persuading Witten to retire from the Cowboys and adding McFarland as Monday Night Football’s first ever on-field analyst. Their first opportunity to show they can improve upon the old broadcast will come in an old Monday night broadcaster’s return to coaching.

49 responses to “ESPN makes Monday Night Football crew official, will call Jon Gruden’s debut

  1. “Hey, honey, Booger is the name of that guy calling the game tonight.”

    “Oh that poor man.”

  2. What a complete disaster of a booth. It really has taken a concerted effort on the part of ESPN and the NFL to ruin what used to be the marquise game of the week, but they’ve definitely accomplished exactly that.

  3. I love Tessatore on espn boxing…not sure how i’ll feel about him on Monday night w/ Wit but i’ll watch the games nevertheless

  4. Many posters on here used to complain about Mike Tirico calling the games. Still feel that way now?

  5. And in the spirit of today’s NFL, Gruden’s Grinders will be replaced by Witten’s Whiners.

  6. Can we just briefly contemplate how silly the “on-field analyst” position is? There’s nothing that he can see from the sideline that he couldn’t just as easily see from the booth and he’ll be on the air for maybe 3 minutes of a 3-hour telecast. They don’t even manage to put together a good intro for the guy. They just randomly jump down to him when nothing else is happening–which is exactly the worst time for him to try to come up with any sort of meaningful comment.

  7. How can it be Gruden’s “debut” since he’s already coached there?

    Oh wait, it’s the raiders. Who knows what town they were on 15 years ago. For that matter, how many more city fan bases will they be allowed to ruin? There’s already more hype for the Rams than the raiders ever had and they’re going into year 3 there? I suppose it’s proof the city has fans, but the raider product just isn’t appealing.

  8. Forget about the crew for the late game.

    Who on God’s green earth thought that Lions – Jets would be a compelling debut for MNF???

    I guess I might watch – but I do have a really compelling nap scheduled for that time frame.

    Decisions, decisions.

  9. Maybe a major reason ESPN is hemorrhaging cash is because instead of hiring known commodities in the booth for a reasonable salary, they’re hiring ex-players with no known ability for way over market value.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but i’d rather listen to a nobody who knows what they’re talking about and can conjugate a full sentence than some ex-player who has 0 experience. Maybe Witten will surprise us all, but i’m not holding my breath.

  10. Valentino8100, ESPN did not ruin MNF, the main culprit was the NFL for giving them games that even home trams didn’t want to watch.

  11. doesn’t matter I won’t be watching MNF on that Chanel.
    It’s funny, I had thought that some guys like Teddy Bruschi had not been working in the media any longer since I hadn’t seen him in a really long time on TV. I realized it’s because he’s on espn and I have that station blocked out on my box. Peddlers of Lies is all they are to me

  12. It doesn’t matter what network, what announcers or day it’s on. We don’t REALLY care. We just want a good game with much less talk.

  13. I think some commentators just like complaining. Anyone who loves football doesn’t give a hoot who’s “announcing” the game as long as they give a solid read of the yards/down and whats basically happening on the play, penalty, etc.

    No football fan EVER says “I think I’ll watch that Browns game instead of the Pats & Saints because that announcing crew is…”

  14. have to give Witten a pass because he is an unknown broadcast wise. The rest of the crew? LOL. No comment. Anyone is better then listening to Mayocks endless drivel and self proclaim. Will not be a good night for Gruden or the Oakland fans because as I see it the Rams are going to flog them like a cheap rug

  15. That is a pretty iffy booth, though I think Lisa Salters is underrated. I’d put her up there with Tafoya and Oliver for actual reporting and useful info.

  16. Everyone just hating because its ESPN. Booger is awful. I’ll agree on that one. Tessitore already does CFB and hes good at it. No one knows what Witten will be.

  17. jbaxt….still dreaming about the Raiders.

    Good for you, buddy.

    The Raiders are still the #1 team in LA.

    The NFL didn’t want the Raiders to have the LA market and create a beast.

    Fair enough.

    Give it to the chargers then, see how that works out.

  18. McFarland will be a welcome addition to what had become a tiring broadcast team. The addition of Witten seams more of an experiment than McFarland as the new “sideline analyst”, but we’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out.

  19. ditkasanger says:
    May 10, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I think some commentators just like complaining. Anyone who loves football doesn’t give a hoot who’s “announcing” the game as long as they give a solid read of the yards/down and whats basically happening on the play, penalty, etc.

    No football fan EVER says “I think I’ll watch that Browns game instead of the Pats & Saints because that announcing crew is…”
    —————————————-

    Not really. It’s that dissonance I sometimes get on Sunday where I’m like: “Yes! -NE is playing “, and at the same time “Eff my life -I have to listen to Dan Fouts screw up the broadcast for 3 plus hours.”

  20. Bill Burr said it best to Dan Patrick about ESPN. Watch the interview. “You were in the last group of broadcasters who knew the highlight wasn’t about them.” ESPN hasn’t been good since Stuart Scott, Eisen and Patrick.

  21. Blame the unwatchable ‘SC6’ and ‘Get Up’ on the gone in disgrace ESPN head John Skipper.
    This questionable new MNF crew is on new management. Seems set up to fail.

  22. If they don’t find a way to eventually get Booger and Jim Bob Cooter in a booth at the same time, it will be a missed opportunity.

  23. Thank god Gruden is gone. His shtick wore off quickly. He was never going to be the next Madden, but ESPN kept trying.

  24. Mullman76 says:

    May 10, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    jbaxt….still dreaming about the Raiders.

    Good for you, buddy.

    The Raiders are still the #1 team in LA.

    The NFL didn’t want the Raiders to have the LA market and create a beast

    ————————————–
    The NFL wants the Los Angeles market to succeed so they gave it to an owner who has business acumen and who doesnt need public funding to build a stadium, and that owner did not want to share his stadium with the “Raider element” and everything that that entails. The NFL got that right by awarding the LA market to the Little Lambs.

    They also got the Raiders move right. What better place for a transient vagabond sideshow of a franchise than the middle of the desert and used and exploited by Las Vegas as the sideshow act that they are to attract more gamblers and tourist to their city?

    Its a good Monday Night match up. The battle of Las Vegas and Los Angeles hosted by Oakland. ESPN should have backed up the money truck for Peyton Manning if passed a screening test. He’ll tell the average viewers everything that defense is doing. “See that Saftey lined up behind the Nicole back, look for the Nickle back to blitz here”.

  25. “ESPN has not yet announced who will call the Lions-Jets game.”

    *Breaking News*: Frank Caliendo will also help with color commentary during this broadcast. Source: ESPN

  26. Great… Another Cowgirl being shoved down our throat. Seriously to many former Cowgirls out there and we are all tired of it.

  27. “ESPN apparently figured there would be synergy with having its new team work former announcer Jon Gruden’s return to Oakland, and also figured that the Rams-Raiders game would be better than the Lions-Jets game earlier in the night.”

    DOUBLE DUUUHHH.

    “Anyone who loves football doesn’t give a hoot who’s ‘announcing'”

    You’re looking from the wrong angle. Obviously, we don’t watch the games FOR the announcers…but I’ll be damned if I’m not muting Collinsworthless or Joe Buck.

    And whoever is giving Tessitore and Sayers props…SPOT ON!! Both are solid, informative and articulate. They have stage presence…meaning professionalism borne of training and experience. Imagine that!

    We can do withoutall the extraneous clowning and fumbling of words like the unqualified ex-jocks (not applicable to all, just most) or Dennis Millers of the world.

    And please, no pipsqueaks. We won’t miss you McDonough…whdkfkooops my voice just cracked.

  28. xavier179 says:
    May 10, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Valentino8100, ESPN did not ruin MNF, the main culprit was the NFL for giving them games that even home trams didn’t want to watch.
    ———————–

    MNF was ruined when they moved it to cable. It became irrelevant when SNF came around, and started getting the premier games.

  29. Wolf man Jack, Gilbert godfree,bobcat gothwait,,,,with sam kenison,doing sideline reporting ,,,,dream team

  30. I was really hoping Sergio Dipp would be on hand to ask Gruden if he was having the time of his life. ESPN has completely lost touch with their audience.

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