ESPN should promote former Colts punter Pat McAfee to the MNF booth as soon as possible.
Football fans collectively rejoiced when it was reported a few months ago that ESPN would be searching for alternatives to Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland in the Monday Night Football booth.
The duo received heavy criticism each week for their lackluster performance, and understandably so, as the former was lambasted for having too much pizzazz. The latter, meanwhile, provided less than intellectual analysis and almost went out of his way to not be wrong, which resulted in him delivering continual nauseating breakdowns.
ESPN ultimately appointed the three-man booth of Steve Levy (play-by-play) and color commentators Louis Riddick and Brian Griese, who called the second game of last season’s doubleheader in Week 1, as the MNF crew for 2020. By all accounts, they did a solid job calling Broncos-Titans, and will ultimately prove to be a significant improvement on the 2019 duo.
With that being said, there’s no denying that the trio could have benefited from an injection of energy. That is precisely why ESPN should look to upgrade former Colts punter Pat McAfee to the Monday night gig as soon as humanly possible.
In reference to McAfee’s tweet, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, who form ESPN’s primetime college football tandem, will be the backup MNF team this season. Them calling the first game of the doubleheader last night came down to allowing Griese to remain home in Denver for Week 1.
While McAfee would make a great addition to the B team, his cameos during ESPN’s college football coverage in 2019 proved he deserves a weekly spot and would make a seamless transition to the booth.
That begs the question of who he would replace? The former two-time Pro Bowler obviously isn’t going to supplant Levy as the play-by-play man. which leaves Riddick and Griese, who are incredibly insightful and quick to the punch in terms of delivery. However, one could certainly argue they offer the same attributes.
If ESPN wants to avoid its MNF crew sounding redundant and overly knowledgable (yes, that’s possible), the company should consider McAfee as a replacement to one of its new primary color commentators, or add him to Fowler and Herbstreit’s booth to further replicate the collegiate feel.
McAfee has made some electrifying appearances on programs like “Get Up” and “College GameDay” during his transition to sports media — plus his own radio show is a massive hit — so we really see no reason why the Worldwide Leader wouldn’t consider elevating him to MNF.
His brand of entertainment would offer a newfound dynamic to a booth that’s lacked in that department since Jon Gruden left for the Raiders coaching job during the 2018 offseason.