ESPN has completed the selection process for its Monday Night Football broadcast team, with the final addition of Anthony “Booger” McFarland as an on-field analyst.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle will now become the third voice as Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten broadcast from the booth. Lisa Salters will also continue to lend her talents as a sideline reporter.
The move signals a departure from past broadcast teams which until now were pretty much all in-booth setups. McFarland taking an on-field presence will purportedly give the broadcast a few insights from the sidelines as well as possible scoops about player reactions during the game, according to The New York Post.
But, it may also present something of a challenge as McFarland and his partners in the booth try to communicate without being able to see each other, and as McFarland deals with extraneous noises around him as he delivers his perspective.
On-field analysis is not a new concept, granted. Fox used to have Tony Siragusa work from the sidelines with Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston broadcasting from the booth. But it will mark a first for the ESPN MNF team.
McFarland, a two-time Super Bowl champion, became the network’s final choice after Peyton Manning turned down an offer and a series of other candidates were passed over. Others who auditioned for the role include Brett Favre, Kurt Warner, Louis Riddick and Rex Ryan.
Tessitore, Witten, and McFarland, replace Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden. McDonough left to do college football play-by-play for ESPN, and Gruden left the network entirely to become the coach of the Raiders.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.