After 18 years as the primary analyst on Westwood One’s Monday Night Football radio package, Boomer Esiason stepped down from that role in July, and Newsday‘s Neil Best noted then that NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner (who’d been a regular fill-in analyst for these radio broadcasts, and was also in contention for ESPN’s Monday Night Football TV analyst job before that role went to Jason Witten) was “presumed to be the leading candidate” to replace Esiason.
Fast-forward a month, and it now looks like Warner is in fact on board, with Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reporting Monday that Warner’s come to a verbal agreement with Westwood One. That’s a move that seems to make a fair bit of sense for both parties; Warner gets more regular work as a game analyst, and in a pretty high-profile slot, while Westwood One gets someone who’d previously done well as a fill-in analyst, making for a hopefully-smooth transition.
In addition to his work as a fill-in game analyst for radio, Warner has also done that on TV, calling two games for NBC in place of Cris Collinsworth last year. Moreover, Warner will join returning play-by-play analyst Kevin Harlan for these games, and those two already have plenty of experience working together, both from the times Warner filled in on MNF and from the weekly QB-focused podcast they did together for Westwood One last year. And hey, it’s probably a good thing Warner didn’t try the NFL comeback he contemplated (at age 47, no less) this year; calling these games seems a lot less painful than playing in them.
The Westwood One Monday Night Football package begins Sept. 10 with coverage of both the early New York Jets-Detroit Lions game and the late Los Angeles Rams-Oakland Raiders one. Harlan and Warner will presumably be on that later, higher-profile game (that’s what ESPN’s doing with its TV groups at least, putting the main team of Tessitore, Witten and Booger McFarland on the late game and having Beth Mowins, Brian Griese and Laura Rutledge call the early game), but we’ll find out more there when Westwood One makes this move official. And we’ll see how Warner does as a full-time MNF radio analyst.