After the much maligned Jason Witten experiment, ESPN had plenty of options for its next Monday Night Football broadcast crew. Today, ESPN announced that they would be going with the path of least resistance, bringing back Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland as a two-man booth for MNF’s 50th year, with Lisa Salters also returning as sideline reporter.
The crew will be joined by new officiating analyst John Parry, and McFarland will be in the booth alongside Tessitore instead of patrolling the sidelines in his reviled BoogerMobile.
Last year’s setup with Witten was criticized on a weekly basis by both fans and the media. With Peyton Manning once again spurning ESPN’s advances, the network decided to not pursue a second analyst for the booth.
This might be a disappointment to some, but it was the easiest move ESPN could make. Expectations are going to be low this season, and if criticism piles up once again, ESPN can move on with a whole new duo (or trio) and not wonder if a Tessitore/McFarland combination would have worked better without Witten.
Next year, ESPN essentially has three options. They can bring this pairing back for another year, add another analyst to see if a three-man booth would work with a more experienced third man in the booth, or blow it up and move on.
Last season, there was no chemistry between Tessitore, Witten, and McFarland, and it showed. Tessitore and McFarland were able to somewhat adjust to that lack of chemistry, but Witten couldn’t, and it showed. This year, Tessitore and McFarland can get better acquainted to each other, and ESPN can add a third member to the booth next year if they feel the need. That way, with McFarland in the booth, the second analyst won’t feel the need to carry the bulk of the load during the broadcast.
[ESPN PR/Photo: ESPN Images]