Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler could call NFL ‘Monday Night Football’ games this fall

first_imgESPN’s No. 1 college football broadcast duo at least temporarily could become the network’s “Monday Night Football” broadcast duo in 2020.If this year’s college football season is delayed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN “will likely turn to” play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler and analyst Kirk Herbstreit for its NFL broadcasts, according to Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy. ESPN’s “MNF” booth is currently vacant, as the network is moving on from the broadcast duo of Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland. After trying but failing to land big names like Al Michaels, Tony Romo, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees for its Monday night booth, ESPN is expected to hire a new duo from its pool of current broadcasters. McCarthy listed Louis Riddick, Dan Orlovsky, Pat McAfee, Steve Levy, Dave Pasch and Brian Griese as candidates.But that hiring process reportedly is on hold while ESPN awaits word on the status of the college football season.MORE: Trey Wingo, Wendi Nix are in limbo at ESPN”It all hinges on when and if college football comes back,” a source told McCarthy. “If Herbstreit and Fowler are ESPN’s best football booth, and a lot of execs at ESPN believe they are, why not have them call Monday night? They call the College Football Playoff national championship game every year.”Front Office Sports also noted Fox is approaching the season the same way with its currently vacant No. 2 NFL analyst job after Charles Davis left for CBS. The network’s top college football game analyst, Joel Klatt, likely would join announcer Kevin Burkhardt on Fox’s No. 2 NFL broadcast team with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman remaining the No. 1 duo.The NFL is proceeding as though its 2020 season can and will play out on schedule, with the season-opener scheduled for Sept. 10 and training camps — all teams must hold camps at their own team facilities this year — beginning in mid-July. The league reportedly is considering a condensed preseason with two games per team rather than four.There is more doubt surrounding the college football season in part because it involves so many more parties (the NCAA, conferences, schools, players) that need to be on the same page in terms of the preservation of health and safety for all. The Division I council is expected to vote Wednesday on a plan that would let the season start on time. MORE: Ranking ESPN’s internal options for “MNF”ESPN’s current broadcast deal with the NFL — which is set to expire in 2021, a year before the expiration of the league’s deals with NBC, CBS and Fox — is bad. ESPN reportedly pays more than $1 billion per year for the right to broadcast “Monday Night Football” games, for which the quality in scheduling has slipped, without being part of the Super Bowl broadcast rotation. NBC, on the other hand, reportedly pays just $950 million for the rights to “Sunday Night Football” games, which has become the league’s premier prime-time package, and its place in the Super Bowl rotation.ESPN will try to get a better deal in this round of negotiations, which is why it has been trying so hard to land an intriguing broadcast duo.last_img

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