In an unprecedented move for “Monday Night Football,” ESPN rounded out its broadcast team for the show by adding an on-field analyst.
The Athletic reports that the network has given the job to Booger McFarland, who joins a team made up of Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten in the booth with Lisa Salters to continue in a traditional sideline role.
The New York Post, which reported last month that McFarland had auditioned for the job, notes: “McFarland is looked at internally as a rising star after his work on college football. During the first week of the much-publicized ‘Get Up!’ McFarland occupied the rotation fourth role next to Michelle Beadle, Mike Greenberg and Jalen Rose.”
The Post adds: “The advantage for an analyst on the field is having a sideline view of line play and potentially pick up tidbits from the bench. The disadvantage is the three broadcasters can’t make eye contact, which can lead to talking over one another or sounding stilted as they wait for the go-ahead from a producer.”
The report notes that Fox used an on-field analyst, Tony Siragusa, for years, working with Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston in the booth. “Siragusa even had a whole setup on the sideline, including, at one point, a telestrator,” The Post reports. But the move represents a first for ESPN and “MNF.”
“For ESPN, this concludes a long process in their search for Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden’s replacement on Monday Night,” The Post notes. “Gruden left for a $100 million coaching contract with the Raiders, while McDonough switched spots with Tessitore. McDonough is once again ESPN’s No. 2 college football play-by-player.”
ESPN reportedly pursued Peyton Manning for the lead analyst’s job, but Manning turned down the network’s $6.5 million offer. Others who reportedly auditioned include Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Louis Riddick and Rex Ryan.