Jason Witten’s one season off the job for the Dallas Cowboys went pretty poorly while working as color analyst for Monday Night Football. He flubbed names, got tongue-tied, made up sayings and broke an MVP Pro Bowl trophy on the way out.
It was so bad that he unretired to rejoin the Cowboys.
Monday Night Football had the opportunity to take a mulligan on the hiring with his return to the NFL, but on Wednesday ESPN announced it wouldn’t.
Instead, it’ll cut down its four-person announcing crew to three and move high-rise-cart-dwelling Booger McFarland into the main analyst role. Play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will return for their second year at their respective positions.
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Considering ESPN has talented in-house replacement options like Louis Riddick, Ryan Clark and Dan Orlovsky, it’s a questionable move. Hiring away CBS and NFL Network up-and-comer Nate Burleson would likewise inject some youthful energy into the broadcast.
ESPN could have made a historic move by replacing Witten with Beth Mowins, the first woman to call MNF who has done a few games in the past.
What about former punter Pat McAfee, whose humor and large podcast following gained since his retirement would bring a Bill Walton-esque humor to the stagnating broadcast?
If the Worldwide Leader was willing to shell out, maybe put Peyton Manning in the booth. ESPN could have inquired about signing Tony Romo away from CBS after his successful debut calling games there.
They … picked Booger. The announcement wasn’t taken well by NFL fans.
Live look at ESPN deciding to just throw Booger in MNF booth… #NFL #MNF pic.twitter.com/jD0cC8DbeK
— King Ragnar (@Ragnarskingdom) May 1, 2019
Live look at Monday Night Football pic.twitter.com/nVJXcR35ho
— It’s FC Cincinnati Regular SZN (@bobetjackson) May 1, 2019
— Derek Wagner (@djwagss) May 1, 2019
"ESPN will go with Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland and Lisa Salters as its MNF team."
Part of me just died reading that sentence. pic.twitter.com/rdvxT5c7UP
— The Pinnacle Podium (@PinnaclePodium) May 1, 2019
— Dylan (@BigKuntry2235) May 1, 2019
— Schmitty (@tyschmit) May 1, 2019
— Andrew Livingston (@AndrewLiv) May 1, 2019
Monday nights will never be the same, and that’s saying something! #MNF pic.twitter.com/8IkUkeYUOy
— Michael Hauff (@TheFFRealist) May 1, 2019
— ebreeze. (@WHOisEBREEZE) May 1, 2019
— Francisco J Melendez (@Panchmelendez) May 1, 2019
— Mark Ernest (@Diredonkey) May 1, 2019
— Justin Phillips (@jphil9148) May 1, 2019
What are we doing @espn #mcafeeformnf pic.twitter.com/2IkYhfDAQi
— Dustin “BamBam” Parrish (@BamBamCSF) May 1, 2019
— Mike Fortunato (@Space_Case_89) May 1, 2019
— Vince Ocasio (@NPTrojan79) May 1, 2019
Waiting a year to go after Romo I see. @PatMcAfeeShow got screwed pic.twitter.com/NDGrY4CP6h
— Kyle Benter (@BenterKyle) May 1, 2019