Even though the 2018 season is up next, thanks to the draft wrapping up and rookie minicamps already beginning, we still do not know for sure who will be on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" program next year. But we have a pretty good idea, and it starts with Jason Witten, the former Cowboys tight end who.
Witten will be the color man for the prime time game, replacing Jon Gruden, who returned to run the Raiders after a decade-long absence from the coaching ranks. The play-by-play man, with Sean McDonough now out after a short run, will apparently be Joe Tessitore, the long-time college football play-by-play announcer. Tessitore draws high grades from the general public and media pundits alike; he might have managed to become underrated at some point over the last few years and could be a home run here.
The lone member of the team from last year's broadcast will be sideline reporter Lisa Salters. Salters has been with ESPN since 2000 and has been on MNF since 2012.
A third member of the team will be added as well. According to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, "Monday Night Football" will feature a field analyst for the first time, with ex-Buccaneers defensive lineman and current SEC analyst Anthony "Booger" McFarland joining the team in that role.
The "field analyst" role is something that ESPN and other networks have sort of carved into broadcasts over the last several years. Typically speaking, it's a male on the sideline doing some reporting and also analyzing the game. ESPN has featured Todd McShay as one of these analysts on a lot of their college football broadcasts. It's an odd disconnect to have, but technology allows the communication to work pretty seamlessly.
What might make things tough for this particular group is everyone -- save Salters -- is in transition. Witten is going to work in the booth for the first time. Tessitore is transitioning from college games to the NFL. McFarland is doing the same while also working with this group for the first time.
It's a strong group of four analysts, each of whom independently should show up well. The question will be how they blend out of the gates on what is typically one of the most-watched games of the NFL week.