ESPN’s New “Monday Night Football” Crew Depends on College Broadcasts

ESPN wants college analysts Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler to call the games

Monday Night Football logo on a TV camera
Who will take over "Monday Night Football"?
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty

ESPN’s plan to draft its new Monday Night Football team from the ranks of its top college broadcasters could be in doubt if NCAA football is played this season.

In a perfect world, The Worldwide Leader would replace its former MNF booth pairing of Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland with its top college football broadcast team of analyst Kirk Herbstreit and play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler, sources told Front Office Sports.

But that can only happen if the college football season is delayed or canceled. Should the NCAA season go on as normal, which is in some doubt due to the coronavirus, ESPN will have to make alternate plans.

Those plans would likely include filling the MNF booth with some combination of internal candidates including Louis Riddick, Dan Orlovsky, Pat McAfee, Steve Levy, Dave Pasch and Brian Griese, according to FOS.

In addition to serving as ESPN’s leading College GameDay analyst, 50-year old Herbstreit is also the anchor of the network’s NFL Draft coverage.

That combination could make him an ideal fit in the MNF booth, an area ESPN has been struggling to fill since Jon Gruden departed to coach in the NFL and Sean McDonough was replaced in 2018.

“You’re talking about some of the most polished booth guys in football, so it feels like a natural transition,” Bonnie Bernstein, an ex-ESPN and CBS NFL reporter, told FOS. “And considering how extensively Chris and Kirk have all covered the college game, think they’d add a welcome layer of depth around players’ technical development over the years and their evolution as people.”

Herbstreit and Fowler call the College Football Playoff National Championship game every year so taking over the spotlight of handling what used to be the most prestigious broadcast in football should not be an issue for the duo, at least theoretically.

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