Jason Witten admits hearing criticism over Monday Night Football sucked

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Jason Witten heard the criticisms of the Monday Night Football broadcasts last season. Unlike many players who try to say they don’t read or listen to what is being said about them, Witten said clearly that he absolutely heard the feedback of the ESPN broadcasts as he paired with Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland.

Nobody’s immune to it, regardless of how much mental toughness you have,” Witten said on Dual Threat with Ryen Russillo. “That was one of the things I kind of prided myself on as a player for 15 years. I could handle the big stage. … Certainly, I took a beating. I’m aware of it. To say like, ‘Hey, you didn’t pay attention to it.’ Bullsh–. Everybody’s aware and if you’re not, you’re lying to me to say you’re just immune to it. Probably everybody outside of Bill Belichick and a handful of others that just don’t really care what’s being said.”

Witten elected to come out of retirement and return to the Cowboys for a 16th season this spring. He reaffirmed that his decision to return to football had nothing to do with the criticism levied against their broadcast crew. Instead, he just really wanted to play football again. However, that doesn’t make the criticism sting any less in retrospect, especially when he believed the grouping had made significant strides throughout the season.

“The toughest part was you finish calling a game and whether you’re flying back that night or going back to the hotel I would check my texts and it was like they found out I was sick or something or somebody died in my family,” Witten said. “‘Hey, praying for you. Keep your head up. Don’t worry about it.’ I’m like my gosh it wasn’t that bad, you know. … I wasn’t immune to it. It sucked going through it at times. Once the narrative kind of got formed, I knew that it was going to be a long-game approach.

“And I thought as the season unfolded when Boog moved up to the booth I thought we had two or three really good games and we were starting to kind of hit our stride. I didn’t make this decision off of the noise and the criticism. That wasn’t why I made this decision it was really just I want to play. The scoreboard matters and I want to be a part of that.”

16 responses to “Jason Witten admits hearing criticism over Monday Night Football sucked

  1. Tom Brady hears the smallest “criticisms” and uses it to fuel his fire all the time. MJ went as far as making up “criticisms” just to motivate himself.

  2. Wonder who they will get at Monday Night Football. Jason sounds like a very nice guy and wish him well. But he is no Tony Romo by any and all means. Would be a long shot to get Peyton Manning. But really heard he wants to be like a GM!

  3. I’m glad he heard the criticism because it was well deserved. These former players get hired for these big-time announcing jobs and they are clearly in over their heads. They start about every third sentence with, “When I played…..”
    Witten has been a great TE. If he reviews every broadcast he did and realizes he tried to say too much and needed to take a breath and only say minimal comments which aren’t over-dramatizing the moment, he might turn out to be a better commentator. I suggest he gets a hold of old tapes of Pat Summerall commenting on games he did. Summerall understood that letting the game be the focus and saying less is sometimes saying more. These guys forget that the game is being televised and the fans watching at home are not stupid. They know what they are seeing and don’t need to be talked down to.
    Here’s an example of what I mean. Say someone asks a friend what they did this morning. The Witten type answer would be, “I heard my alarm go off, I shut it off, I got out of bed, went in and took a shower and brushed my teeth, went back and made my bed, got dressed, went to the kitchen, made my breakfast, put the dishes in the dish washer, went outside to my car, backed it out of the driveway, drove 5 miles to work, parked my car, went in to my office, and started working”.
    The Summerall answer would be, “Went to work”.
    See the difference?

  4. Witten had a bad cast around him in the booth, plus as a TE, he just doesn’t have the field vision experience that a QB has. He would make a better in studio guy.

  5. I think he did show some improvement but it was going to take a lot for him to ever get good at it. It’s no crime. Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith were great players who weren’t good at broadcasting. Witten is in that group. I’m happy he’s back in Dallas doing what he was born to do.

  6. Enough is never said about how bad and obnoxious Joe Tessitore was and how much that contributed to Witten’s struggles. Romo is outstanding, but also has the benefit of working with Nantz. Tessitore is all about hearing his own very loud voice and probably wasn’t there to help a former player transition. Great play by play guys can bring out the best in the analysts. Anyone stuck with Tessitore already is starting off from a bad point. I wasn’t crazy about Witten, but he wasn’t set up to succeed.

  7. “Nobody’s immune to it…”

    Except, apparently, Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland.

  8. Witten wasn’t very good.

    Most of the other announcers were as bad or worse.

    I wouldn’t miss it if you fired 90% of the announcers.

  9. Hitting your stride at the end if the season? How do you explaine Ebron being mahomes go to guy all season. They played on different teams. You were horrible to start the year and never improved. You just kept kicking yourself in the foot by saying dumb things. It’s shoot yourself in the foot, for the record.

  10. Ok, so if you were in his shoes, and a network offered you this job, wouldn’t you take it, I would. If I suck d. I tried. It’s not like he approached them. He made the choice.

  11. Now if we could somehow get Tony Romo out of the broadcast booth. Whitten did an ok job but Tony Romo calling a game is worse than watching him try and win in the playoffs. He is terrible.

  12. joe tessitore was obnoxious. he reached 120 decibels every time a guy caught a pass for 5 yards. it was brutal.

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