Who’s Next For ESPN’s Monday Night Football Booth?

Football Magazine

Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten surprised football fans everywhere when he announced that he was retiring to take a job with ESPN as part of the Monday Night Football broadcast team. ESPN surprised fans when they announced that they were not going to make any changes after the MNF team was widely criticized during the season.

But then Jason Witten decided to surprise fans again by quitting his Monday Night Football and returning to the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys needed a tight end, and now they got one. However, that now means that ESPN needs to bring on someone new.

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They had likely hoped that the network would strike gold as CBS did with Tony Romo—but they didn’t. So, while it was nice of ESPN to give Witten another shot, now they get to take another stab at hiring the ‘right guy.’

Who will it be?

The Odds

A couple of sportsbooks have offered odds on who will replace Witten in the Monday Night Football booth. The odds according to BetOnline.ag are as follows:

  • Peyton Manning 2/1
  • Louis Riddick 9/4
  • Greg Olsen 7/2
  • Kurt Warner 6/1
  • Matt Hasselbeck 9/1
  • Randy Moss 14/1
  • Boomer Esiason 18/1
  • Steve Young 18/1
  • Tim Tebow 33/1
  • John Madden 100/1

John Madden can be eliminated from contention immediately. While your grandfather might love to see the former Raiders coach back in the booth, there is a generation of fans that are not going to have a clue who he is.

While it might be easy to delve back into the well and hire someone that has worked MNF in the past, it would be surprising if the network went that route. Older viewers are already watching the game and probably think they can do a better job calling the game than whoever is doing it. Hiring someone they are familiar with would be pointless.

That means of the list can be eliminated. Besides, most of it already works on TV in some capacity. Moving to Monday Night wouldn’t necessarily be a good career move for them.

ESPN is going to want to hire someone that is well-known among fans. They are going to want to hire someone that people are going to want to tune in to listen to. If that person can be the next Tony Romo of broadcasting that would be even better.

So, who can fit the bill?

The Prediction

It is going to come down to Peyton Manning, Greg Olsen, Kurt Warner, and Tim Tebow.

Tim Tebow would be the most buzz-worthy choice. He is only 31 and widely loved for all the charitable work he does. While many were critical of his skill as a quarterback, his work with the SEC Network and on other ESPN platforms has been well received.

Will he want to give it up, though? He has been working primarily in college football, too. Will his style translate over the NFL? Maybe…but maybe not.

Kurt Warner would not be a bad choice, either. He has experience in the broadcast world, so there really wouldn’t be too much of a learning curve. Since 2018, he has been working fulltime on MNF broadcast on the radio. His transition to the broadcast booth might be the easiest.

Greg Olsen will not be offered the job. Yes, he is a recognizable and likable guy. But after the last tight end crashed and burned, the network is more likely to go a different route.

If they really want to get someone that can captivate fans like Tony Romo has, Peyton Manning is a perfect choice. With the football IQ that he exhibited throughout his career, it is not hard imaging him dissecting plays and calling out tendencies much like Romo has during his short broadcasting career.

The big question, however, is this—does Peyton want the job?

Since he retired, fans have been watching and waiting to see what his next move would be. There have been several rumors tying him to groups interested in buying the Titans. He would end up taking a John Elway-like role with the team. But nothing has ever come from them, and Peyton hasn’t really shared what he wants to do.

The smart money is on Peyton, but you might not regret putting a little down on Kurt Warner, too.

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