ESPN announced earlier this month that Sean McDonough will not return after two seasons as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football and return to college football. My initial reaction to the news is that, in the business, McDonough's move will be viewed as a demotion but, in reality, it's a promotion.
In an interview with the Kirk & Callahan radio show in Boston, McDonough agreed.
“I say that after a lot of reflection and mostly a lot of belief that, ultimately, what is the most important thing in life is to be happy,” McDonough said, via Awful Announcing. “As much as it was a great honor to be the voice of ‘Monday Night Football’ –– and you guys know me well enough, and certainly a lot of my friends and family do –– it wasn’t a tremendous amount of fun the last two years. When I took my ego out of it, when the conversation about a reboot of MNF came up, when I took the ego part of it out, and rationalized it, I really could be fine with not being the voice of MNF, then it became easy. I love college football. For me, it’s more fun, and that’s a personal taste.”
Monday Night Football is one of the top jobs in broadcasting and unquestionably the top job at ESPN -- in theory. You're the voice of one of three exclusive broadcast windows (Thursday night and Sunday night being the others) in the NFL each week, and the only NFL game for the world's biggest sports media company.
But in reality, the MNF gig is a prison. It's 16 weeks of trying to make a 21-10 snoozefest between the 5-4 Buccaneers and the 3-6 Bears seem interesting.
Returning to college football puts McDonough back in his natural habitat, where he can be free to do this.
There is a trade-off to this news, sadly. As college football re-gains one of its most talented voices, it loses another. Reportedly replacing McDonough in the MNF chair? The great Joe Tessitore.