As ESPN goes into its 14th season in televising Monday Night Football, it will have a new director calling the shots in its production truck. Jimmy Platt takes over for Chip Dean, who goes back to the days when ESPN aired Sunday Night Football.
Platt has directed college football for ESPN and ABC since 2010. He’s also been in the truck for other ESPN events, including the NCAA Women’s Final Four, MLB, and the NCAA Lacrosse Championship.
In its official announcement, ESPN notes that Platt is uniquely qualified to take over MNF:
“Jimmy has excelled at directing college football and other major events for ESPN, and we are fortunate to have him move into the director’s chair on Monday Night Football,” said ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production, Stephanie Druley. “The diversity of his experience will bring a new and unique perspective to the role while continuing the tradition of excellence that has been part of Monday Night for nearly five decades.”
Chip Dean directed ESPN’s NFL package dating back to 2001 and his last game was the 2019 Pro Bowl. While Dean’s departure was expected by ESPN, it is still part of some wholesale changes on MNF that began when the Worldwide Leader took over the venerable primetime package from ABC in 2006.
While Dean was in the truck, the talent in the broadcast booth has been in a state of flux, except for from 2011-2015, when Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden were the tandem calling the games. For the most part, ESPN has been tinkering with the announcers, including last year’s failed experiment, which had Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten in the booth and Booger McFarland on the field in his infamous Booger Mobile.
The team of producer Jay Rothman and director Dean were together for 28 years, including the last 18 on either Sunday or Monday Night Football, making them one of the longest partnerships in sports TV history.
Together on the NFL, they saw the following teams on the respective packages:
2001 — 2005: Mike Patrick/Joe Theismann/Paul Maguire//Suzy Kolber (SNF)
2006: Mike Tirico/Joe Theismann/Tony Kornheiser//Suzy Kolber//Michele Tafoya (MNF)
2007 — 2008: Mike Tirico/Ron Jaworski/Tony Kornheiser//Suzy Kolber//Michele Tafoya
2009 — 2011: Mike Tirico/Ron Jaworski/Jon Gruden//Suzy Kolber//Miehele Tafoya
2011 — 2015: Mike Tirico/Jon Gruden//Suzy Kolber then Lisa Salters (joined in 2012)
2016 — 2017: Sean McDonough/Jon Gruden//Lisa Salters
2018: Joe Tessitore/Jason Witten/Booger McFarland (on-field analyst)//Lisa Salters
2019: Joe Tessitore/Booger McFarland//Lisa Salters
So you can see that there has been a lot of upheaval with ESPN, especially during the Monday Night Football era, but the one constant has been director Chip Dean and producer Jay Rothman in the truck
Dean will remain with ESPN in a new role with the company, mentoring the network’s team of directors encompassing the Worldwide Leader’s networks, including its college channels.
Platt’s NFL directorial debut will be on August 15 when Oakland takes on Arizona. His first regular season game will be Houston at New Orleans on September 9.