“Dun dun dun duuuuun….dun dun dun dun…”
That’s the best I can do typing out the Monday Night Football theme. Apologies.
ESPN is looking for a new MNF analyst. Again. Jason Witten is going back to football. It was evident that being a first time commentator and having it be on MNF was too much for Witten right away. I honestly don’t think ESPN is THAT disappointed he’s leaving. They apparently were going to have him heavily involved in draft coverage to help him get confidence, but I think this move is best for both parties.
So who should ESPN get to replace him? MNF is losing its prestige. Its shine is wearing off. They have to get some better matchups, but also, some better talent in the booth. They have to hit it out of the park with this next hire.
ESPN….here’s my list. Use it. It’s your quick guide to fix MNF.
The Dream Pick
It ain’t happening, but ESPN should open up the bank for Manning. Manning was courted big time by all the networks in the last couple of years, but has turned down every offer. This past season, he did some media scouting stuff on quarterbacks, so maybe there is a very, very small chance he wants to get into broadcasting. But I see Manning wanting to run a franchise. Regardless, ESPN should be willing to offer everything humanly possible to land the biggest fish out there that would instantly skyrocket them up the ratings.
The Train Wreck But I’m Totally Here For It Pick.
Favre apparently tried out for the MNF gig last year, but it didn’t go well. Big surprise, right? Favre would be horrible, but he would 100% be entertaining as hell. Whenever Favre says or does anything, everyone is drawn to it. It would be ugly and painful to hear his analysis at times, but dang it would be fun.
The Now You’re Just Giving Up Pick.
Please, please don’t let this pick happen. I don’t care if he tested well with FOX two years ago and had a gig before he went to the Dolphins. I don’t care he’s on his wife’s TV show. It’s Jay Cutler. That would be dull as hell.
The We’re Just Settling Pick
He’s not a bad analyst, but does he have the name draw for audiences? If anything, people know him more because of the “Booger Mobile”, which isn’t a good thing. If ESPN just wants to settle, this is the pick.
The Back Channel Finding Out Interest Pick
I don’t know what Romo’s contract says about other networks talking to him or him talking to other networks. But if ESPN can talk to Romo, they would be foolish to not pick up the phone and talk to the hottest name in football announcing right now.
The Legit List
Here are my rankings of who I think they legitimately should target:
He’s my number one pick. Ron Rivera has said Olsen has told him he wants to play, but after two seasons of suffering injuries, would he entertain this offer? He has the experience and has done very well in his media roles. But will ESPN be skittish of trying to sway another tight end teetering with retiring or not?
Olsen is kind of a long shot, which would make Thomas my 1B choice. He would knock it out of the park. He’s got media experience, he’s smart, and has a sense of humor. ESPN needs to spice up its coverage again and while Thomas may not be a big flashy pick, viewers will instantly gravitate towards him if they haven’t watched or listened to his work before.
If you want an analyst that has a ton of TV experience and can breakdown everything about the game, Warner is your guy. He’s smart, polished, and respected. He may be a little dry, but when he talks football, you listen. And you learn.
He’s a rising star in the NFL media world. He’s got gigs on NFL Network on Good Morning Football and has done some color work on some games for them. He’s also on CBS as an in-studio analyst. He’s got a ton of experience and would be a solid choice.
If ESPN is looking for an in-house candidate, Riddick is clearly their best option. He’s smart, has played the game, and been in the front office. The only question concerning Riddick would be how long he would stay on the job. He has interviewed for a couple of GM openings in the past couple of years.
Moving on to the NFL Combine. The focus is of course on Kyler Murray.
Let’s stop the height and hand size talk. Real talk here. Murray can play IF he’s in the right system. If you’re a team that is interested in drafting Murray, don’t try to fit him into a certain system. Build the system AROUND him and put him in the best position to succeed. Adapt to him.
If you’re the Cardinals and your new coach Kliff Kingsburry likes Murray that much, I think you have to seriously consider moving Rosen and going with Murray. I think Rosen is going to be a good quarterback in this league. But if the Cardinals believe Murray can run their offense better than Rosen, then they should seriously consider drafting Murray and moving Rosen for perhaps a later first round pick.
Moving to baseball, Bryce Harper finally signed with a team. 13 years, $330 million with the Phillies. No opt outs. No trade clause. Harper says he wants to stay in Philly for the long run and have other players follow him. That’s fine and great right now. But what if they’re not winning in a few seasons? What if the Cubs come calling? Would Harper really say no to playing with the Cubs, Red Sox, or Yankees, the three teams that were reportedly on the top of his list? Doubt it. It’s the right thing to say now, but I don’t totally believe him.
The Milwaukee Bucks may not be getting the most attention across the national landscape, but honestly I think the Bucks are good with that. Let the light shine on the Celtics and 76ers. Let the pressure be on those teams. I think the Bucks prefer it.
But what is the reason that maybe the national media isn’t paying all of their attention to the best team in the NBA? Market size is a reason. But I think a big reason why, is because the Bucks are winning in a way that you’re not supposed to in the NBA. They don’t have a famous “Big 3” or “Big 4” or “Big 5”. They have one, unselfish superstar player and some great role players surrounding him with a great, non-big name head coach. They don’t cause drama and they have a blue collar work ethic to them. They just get the job done, but in a way that isn’t flashy. National media doesn’t want that.
That’s what I have to say for this week!