Matt Hasselbeck to call Pro Bowl for ESPN alongside Sean McDonough
ESPN has yet to announce a replacement for Jon Gruden in the “Monday Night Football” broadcast booth, but the network’s plans for the upcoming Pro Bowl may be a strong hint as to which direction the search is headed.
On Friday, ESPN announced that former NFL quarterback and current analyst Matt Hasselbeck will join Sean McDonough as the color commentator for the Pro Bowl on Jan. 28. Hasselbeck has not, however, been named Gruden’s full-time replacement.
“The process for determining our new Monday Night Football booth is already underway,” ESPN said in a statement. “We are looking at both internal and external candidates and expect to have a decision made this spring. This is one of the most high-profile and attractive positions in all of sports broadcasting so we want to take our time to ensure we make the best decision.”
Promoting from within would make the most financial sense for ESPN, as they could just give someone like Hasselbeck a raise and not have to take on a new multimillion-dollar salary. While Hasselbeck is just a fill-in for the Pro Bowl, he is likely a strong candidate for the full-time “Monday Night Football” role.
Steve Young, another ESPN employee, said Thursday that he is not interested in the “Monday Night Football” job, so that eliminates one potential candidate. For what it’s worth, gambling outlets seem to think ESPN could make a big splash to fill the void left by Gruden’s departure.