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#pounditWednesday, December 1, 2021

Articles tagged: ESPN

ESPN officially unveils new ‘Monday Night Football’ crew, plans for Week 1

ESPN officially has an all-new crew for “Monday Night Football.”

On Monday, ESPN confirmed previous reports that Steve Levy will be the new play-by-play announcer for “Monday Night Football” with Brian Griese and Louis Riddick serving as analysts. Lisa Salters will return for her ninth season as sideline reporter, while officiating analyst John Parry will be back for his second season.

ESPN’s new trio will call the second game of the Week 1 Monday night double-header, which features the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos. The first game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants will be the NFL broadcast debut for ESPN’s top college duo of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit.

We could see more of Fowler and Herbstreit calling NFL games for ESPN this year, as they might work some Saturday NFL broadcasts depending upon what happens with the college football season.

ESPN shifted its attention to internal candidates for “Monday Night Football” after a slew of former NFL quarterbacks turned down the network’s massive offers. They’re hoping Levy, Riddick and Griese will bring more success than Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland did before them.

Report: ESPN tried to recruit Sean McVay for ‘Monday Night Football’

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay has already led his team to a Super Bowl and essentially has his entire coaching career in front of him, but that did not stop ESPN from exploring whether or not the 34-year-old has interest in wearing a different type of headset.

ESPN spoke with McVay this offseason about joining the “Monday Night Football” crew as an analyst, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports. While McVay entertained the conversation, he is under contract with the Rams and has no interest in leaving his job.

Should McVay decide he wants to take some time off from coaching, ESPN made it clear there would be interest in hiring him in a broadcast role.

While you can’t blame ESPN for trying, the fact that they reached out to a 34-year-old head coach whose job is completely secure gives you an idea of how desperate the network is. They’ve decided to hire strictly from within to replace Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland, but that was not their first, second, or even third choice.

A slew of former and current NFL quarterbacks turned down massive offers from ESPN. The network also considered moving its top college broadcast duo to NFL games. McVay was simply another option ESPN decided to explore out of desperation, albeit a very unrealistic one.

Trey Wingo could have reduced or no role at ESPN

Trey Wingo

Trey Wingo was a visible host on ESPN not too long ago, but that may be changing.

Wingo has co-hosted a morning radio show with Mike Golic on ESPN Radio since Nov. 2017, but it is coming to an end and will be replaced by Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Zubin Mehenti on August 17.

Prior to his radio show, Wingo hosted “NFL Live” on ESPN, which will now be hosted by Laura Rutledge.

In a mailbag discussing sports media topics, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand was asked about Wingo’s future with ESPN.

In response, Marchand wrote: “Wingo’s future at ESPN is expected to be either in a reduced role or no role.”

Wingo, 56, has been with ESPN since 1997, beginning as an Arena Football League announcer. He still hosts “NFL Rewind”. His radio partner, Golic, is expected to have some role covering college football.

Report: Kirk Herbstreit could call both ‘Monday Night Football’ and college games

Kirk Herbstreit

Kirk Herbstreit has been mentioned as a possible addition to ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast team this year if the college football season is postponed or canceled, but apparently we could see him calling NFL games even if the NCAA season kicks off on schedule.

The idea of Herbstreit joining the “Monday Night Football” crew is gaining momentum, and Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported on Wednesday that Herbstreit could team up with play-by-play front-runner Steve Levy for NFL games and remain with Chris Fowler on ESPN’s top college football broadcast team. It is viewed as unlikely that Fowler would also pull double duty, so there’s only a chance we’d see him on “Monday Night Football” broadcasts if the college season is delayed or called off.

Marchand notes that Herbstreit joining “MNF” is far from a done deal, and other color analysts are still in consideration to be paired with Levy. Those candidates include Brian Griese, Louis Riddick and Dan Orlovsky.

In other words, the only thing that’s certain is that Herbstreit and Fowler will continue as ESPN’s No. 1 college broadcast duo if there is an NCAA football season. If the start of the season is delayed or canceled, we could see both move to “Monday Night Football.” And no matter what the outcome, there is a chance we will see Herbstreit calling NFL games.

ESPN has officially moved on from Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland, and they are focusing on internal candidates after a slew of former NFL quarterbacks turned down the network’s massive offers.

Report: ESPN still considering Kirk Herbstreit, Chris Fowler for ‘Monday Night Football’

Kirk Herbstreit

There have been rumors that ESPN could consider shifting its top college football broadcast duo to “Monday Night Football” for the 2020 season, and that is apparently something the network has yet to rule out entirely.

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, ESPN has yet to settle on replacements for “Monday Night Football” due to uncertainty about the college football season. If the college season is delayed significantly or canceled, ESPN could move its top college duo of Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler to “Monday Night Football.” However, if the NCAA season begins on time, Herbsreit and Fowler will likely remain in their current roles.

ESPN has officially moved on from Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland, and they are focusing on internal candidates after a slew of former NFL quarterbacks turned down the network’s massive offers. Assuming Herbstreit and Fowler don’t take over on “Monday Night Football,” the top candidates include Louis Riddick and Steve Levy.

We know of at least one former player who is extremely popular among fans that wants the job, but it does not seem likely that he will get it.

Reggie Bush rips ESPN for ‘bogus’ headline about paying college athletes

Reggie Bush is rather bizarrely ripping ESPN for how its website presented a story about him.

Bush spoke to Playboy and shared his concerns that paying college athletes could have negative ramifications if those athletes do not have proper financial guidance. It was picked up by numerous sites, including ESPN.

Bush, however, was not happy with ESPN’s presentation of the story, and demanded that they take it down.

The former running back doesn’t quite seem to understand how this works. ESPN does not need Bush’s approval to write the story. Bush gave an interview to another outlet, and ESPN published his comments while crediting that outlet. Bush may have a point about the context, but his quote is presented in full within the story.

Bush’s full comments are well worth a read. They’re interesting and nuanced, which is why they became a story on ESPN and elsewhere. It seems that the former USC star simply doesn’t get how aggregating works.

NFL reportedly rewarded ESPN with Chiefs-Ravens on ‘Monday Night Football’

Roger Goodell

The best game on the NFL schedule from a TV perspective might be the Week 3 game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs. The game will pit Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes against each other in a “Monday Night Football” showdown.

That the game is on “MNF” was not lost on anyone, and it’s not a coincidence. According to Peter King in his Football Morning in America column, CBS and NBC both badly wanted the game. Many in the TV industry believe that ESPN ultimately got it as a reward for their treatment of the NFL in the last few months.

With sports shut down, ESPN treated free agency like a major event, and worked with NFL Network to produce the most-watched NFL Draft in history. Insiders believe this factored into the league’s decision to reward the network with the consensus best game on the schedule.

Sometimes there are coincidental quirks in the schedule, but TV rights are never an accident. ESPN took advantage of a unique situation, and it seems they got a really good game out of it.

Trevor Bauer has phone number leaked by ESPN on national TV

Trevor Bauer

Trevor Bauer was kind enough to make an early-morning appearance on ESPN2 as part of the network’s Korean baseball broadcast, and the Cincinnati Reds pitcher was rewarded with a flood of phone calls and text messages from people he has never met.

Bauer joined ESPN2’s KBO coverage via FaceTime, and his phone number was accidentally displayed across the top of the screen while he was chatting with Jon Sciambi and Jessica Mendoza. Bauer took to Twitter to call attention to the “massive screw up,” but the right-hander took it in stride. He even turned the gaffe into a giveaway by providing details of the contest in his voicemail recording.

The details Bauer shared about the giveaway were not live for very long, as his voice mailbox quickly filled up.

Bauer is one of the most outspoken players in baseball, and we saw a good example of that recently with some shots he took at the Houston Astros. We can only imagine the types of voicemails fans left for him, but Kudos to the 29-year-old for trying to put a positive spin on ESPN’s huge mistake.

Report: ESPN focusing on internal candidates for ‘Monday Night Football’

Dan Orlovsky

ESPN has swung and missed with its attempts to bring in several high-profile replacements for its “Monday Night Football” broadcast team, and the network may be giving up on making a huge splash before the 2020 season.

ESPN has begun looking “almost exclusively” at media personalities who currently work for the network as potential replacements for analyst Booger McFarland and play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore, Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports. The top internal candidates include Louis Riddick, Dan Orlovsky, Steve Levy and Pat McAfee.

McCarthy says decreasing revenues for both ESPN and parent company Disney amid the current circumstances have factored into the new “Monday Night Football” plan. While ESPN has missed out on Tony Romo, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, other big-name candidates like Kurt Warner were previously believed to be in the running. However, ESPN has had to ask some of its top executives to take pay cuts, which could result in bad optics if the network were to hire someone like Warner.

“When you’re asking your top 100 people to take a haircut, how can you go out and pay Kurt Warner $5 million? That would be a very tough sell,” one source told McCarthy.

Orlovsky has gained national attention for his in-depth football analysis on ESPN’s “Get Up!” He has experience playing in the NFL as a former quarterback, which may make him appealing to the same ESPN executives who wanted to sign Manning, Romo and Brees.

Manning, Romo and Brees are all said to have turned down massive amounts of money from ESPN, which has been the story for the network for several years now. For whatever reason, they just can’t seem to land one of their preferred candidates for “Monday Night Football.” That has been the case since Jon Gruden left the booth to return to coaching in the NFL.

Dan Le Batard could reportedly be out at ESPN as part of big shakeup

Dan Le Batard

Dan Le Batard has had one of the most popular shows with ESPN for several years now, but the longtime media personality may end up being pushed out at the network as part of a big shakeup.

Le Batard has more than a year remaining on his current contract with ESPN, but Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that there is a feeling at the network that Le Batard’s program does not mesh with ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson’s tastes. ESPN may want Le Batard to focus more on sports with “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz,” whereas the program often touches on pop culture and other subjects.

Marchand notes that it is possible Le Batard’s show could continue to be aired on TV even if ESPN pulls him off the radio. Le Batard makes an estimated $3.5 million per year.

There also could be plans in the works to move Mike Greenberg back to a radio spot, possibly the 1-3 p.m. time slow that is currently held by Jason Fitz. Greenberg is expected to continue as the host of the TV show “Get Up!” either way.

Le Batard found himself in hot water last summer when he openly challenged ESPN’s no-politics policy and ripped Donald Trump. He has largely avoided political controversy since.