Jon Gruden’s return to the sideline has prompted a full-on reboot of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” As first reported by the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Sean McDonough is out as play-by-play announcer for the network’s signature NFL broadcast. He’ll reportedly be replaced by longtime college announcer Joe Tessitore.
ESPN released a statement Friday night, announcing McDonough’s return to calling college games after two years in the MNF booth. The veteran broadcaster signed a multiyear deal to stay with ESPN, where he’ll remain a part of its college basketball and Masters coverage in addition to resuming a previous role on college football broadcasts.
“Over the past two years, as I watched college football on television, I realized how much I missed it,” said McDonough in the statement. “Being the ‘Voice of Monday Night Football’ was one of the great honors of my life, but I am grateful for the opportunity to return to the unique traditions, rivalries and pageantry of college football and to tell the stories of the participants. I look forward to reuniting with ESPN’s college football team where I have so many close friends in front of and behind the camera.”
Stephanie Druley, an ESPN senior vice president, called McDonough “a highly-skilled broadcaster who brings great passion, energy and work ethic to every game he calls.”
The network has yet to formally announce Tessitore’s promotion. Marchand notes that he’s never called an NFL game, while also implying that the NFL itself wasn’t particularly enamored with McDonough as the voice of one of its signature properties.
Earlier Friday, Marchand also reported that ESPN’s dream hire for “Monday Night Football,” Peyton Manning, would not be joining the so-called “Worldwide Leader,” perhaps leading to the network’s decision to proceed with switching out McDonough for Tessitore, ESPN’s No. 2 college football play-by-play announcer behind Chris Fowler.
According to Marchand, Manning is still in play for a booth job with Fox, which will take over Thursday Night Football coverage starting this season. As for who will assume Gruden’s old job beside the newly installed Tessitore on MNF, Marchand cites Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss and Louis Riddick as possible internal candidates, as well as NFL Network’s Kurt Warner and, in what would be a moonshot, Brett Favre.