For, oh, about 15 years now, ESPN has wildly overthought the talent arrangement on its most valuable property, Monday Night Football.
That level of overthink could lead to a dramatic level of overwork for one of its top talents.
According to a report Wednesday from Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN is considering having Kirk Herbstreit pull double duty of college football on Saturday nights and MNF.
Herbstreit’s name has been floated as a possibility as ESPN looks to reboot MNF for the umpteenth time. After swinging and missing with Peyton Manning and Tony Romo, the Worldwide Leader is now focused on internal candidates to replace Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland, a pair that lasted all of two seasons (with Jason Witten in the booth and McFarland in the Boogermobile for one of those seasons.)
“If college football is played this fall, Herbstreit would continue with Chris Fowler on ESPN’s No. 1 team. That is not changing, no matter what,” Marchand writes.
“However, the NFL likes Herbstreit, sources say, and he could do double duty and team with new MNF play-by-play favorite Steve Levy. It is very unlikely Fowler would do both college and the MNF.”
“If they ever approached me about ‘Monday Night Football,’ and I’ve told my agent this, it would have to be in addition to what I do, because I’m not leaving college football. I just can’t. It’s just my passion. It’s what I love,” Herbstreit told Sean Salisbury in a radio interview back in April, via the Houston Chronicle.
“If they wanted me to do it on top of it, I would do that, and it would be obviously a lot of work, and I don’t even think that it would be something that would happen. But if they said we need you to come off of ‘(College) GameDay,’ we need you to come off the Saturday night game, come off the Rose Bowl, the national championship game, all the things that I call, I personally would not want to do that.”
While everything is still in flux, Marchand writes that Steve Levy is currently the favorite to take over play-by-play duties; he would be the fourth straight MNF play-by-play man to move from Saturdays to Mondays, following Mike Tirico, Sean McDonough and Tessitore. In addition to Herbstreit, ESPN is reportedly considering Brian Griese, Louis Riddick and Dan Orlovsky.
While one is hesitant to use the term “work” to describe Herbstreit’s job, he would easily become the most overworked broadcaster in the industry should this plan come to fruition. A typical broadcast week would call for him to do GameDay Saturday morning, Saturday Night Football later that night (sometimes from the same location, sometimes not), and then MNF 48 hours later — and then rinse, repeat for three straight months. (Don’t forget, Herbstreit is a fixture, from his Nashville office, on ESPN’s Tuesday night Playoff show as well.) That schedule would continue through mid-January, as Herbstreit would call ESPN’s Wild Card playoff game, then go straight into the CFP title game the next Monday.
I know, I know: it’s work millions of football fans dream of, but would require a level of skill and dedication that few could pull off.
Perhaps we’ll learn if Herbie thinks he can do it before long.