ESPN has been searching for a “Monday Night Football” replacement crew for months. Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland held the booth last season, but fans weren’t too thrilled with their performance. Tessitore is effective but has more of a big game college football voice, and McFarland sometimes sounded like he’s never seen the sport in his life. The network tried to poach Tony Romo, Al Michaels, and even Peyton Manning for the job to no avail. Now ESPN is looking in-house for its next ‘MNF’ crew. The newest “Monday Night Football” targets are reportedly Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit— the ESPN college football duo. NCAA fans won’t be happy if they abandon their post.
ESPN is considering moving Fowler and Herbstreit to ‘MNF’
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported Monday that Fowler and Herbstreit are an option for the “Monday Night Football” booth in 2020. ESPN has exhausted multiple options, including an attempted trade for NBC’s Al Michaels. The network wanted to pair Michaels with Peyton Manning, but Manning declined the offer and the deal fell through.
Tony Romo was another option for ESPN, but CBS gave him a massive contract to keep him. Even Drew Brees was approached about the job. The Saints’ quarterback mulled retirement this offseason, but he’s returning to the field instead.
Now that its first few options are out, ESPN has moved to an in-house duo. Fowler and Herbstreit have both been with ESPN for over 25 years covering college football. A jump to the NFL would be weird for football fans to see, but ESPN is running out of options.
Herbstreit and Fowler are a staple of college football Saturdays
When you hear or Chris Fowler or Kirk Herbstreit talk, your mind immediately thinks of college football. Death Valley at LSU. The Swamp in Florida. Penn State’s White Out. These electric college atmospheres wouldn’t be the same without Fowler and Herbstreit calling the action.
The duo has worked together in the booth since 2014. They have called almost every Saturday ABC night game since then. Fowler and Herbstreit have also called playoff and national championship games. They are the premiere crew across all of college football, and fans love them.
Both of their roots can be traced even further back in ESPN’s history. Fowler has been a part of the network’s college football coverage since 1988. Herbstreit joined the team in 1995. The two were instrumental in ESPN’s “College Gameday” for 20 years, and Herbstreit still works on the show today.
College football fans won’t be happy with this ‘MNF’ decision
College football fans are already voicing their displeasure with the possible decision. Fowler and Herbstreit have become the cornerstones of college football play-by-play over the last six years. Fans can’t imagine a Rose Bowl or national championship without the duo calling the action.
When the ‘MNF’ reports surfaced, fans went off on Twitter. Almost everyone called it a terrible idea and that they couldn’t imagine Fowler and Herbstreit calling anything but college football.
Herbstreit told the Pat McAfee Show recently that he could see himself doing both jobs, but he doesn’t love the NFL like he loves college football. It’s clear college football fans love their primetime announcers, though. If ESPN pries them away to call “Monday Night Football,” college football fans might never forgive the network.