Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick will be the new announce team for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” according to a person familiar with the decision.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Friday because the network has not announced its decision. ESPN biographer Jim Miller was the first to report on the new booth.
The trio has familiarity working together. They called the late game in last season's Week 1 doubleheader between Denver and Oakland.
The MNF booth has had frequent changes since Mike Tirico departed for NBC in 2016. Tirico was the play-by-play voice for 10 seasons (2006-15) and teamed with Jon Gruden for the last seven. Sean McDonough took over for Tirico for 2016 and ’17 and worked with Gruden.
After Gruden left to take over as Raiders coach and McDonough sought to move back to college football, ESPN went with the three-man booth of Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten and Booger McFarland in 2018. Witten struggled as an analyst and decided to return to the playing field last year.
While ratings had increased the past two seasons, the announcing was widely criticized. ESPN is hoping this booth has more staying power.
Levy has been a “SportsCenter” anchor for most of his 27 years at the network, but returned to announcing games in 2016. He has teamed with Griese on college football the past four seasons. They have also called Denver Broncos preseason contests.
Griese joined ESPN in 2009 following an 11-year NFL career. He also was an analyst on radio for the Broncos for two seasons as well as working with Beth Mowens on an MNF game in 2018.
Riddick has been an integral part of ESPN's NFL studio shows, including Monday Night halftime and postgame, but has long wanted to get his shot at being in the booth. He expanded his repertoire last year when he was the analyst for Friday night college football games.
Lisa Salters is expected to return as the sideline reporter and John Parry as the rules analyst.
Judge focuses on protocols
First-year New York Giants coach Joe Judge believes NFL players and coaches will have to sacrifice if the league is going to have a season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to the media Friday for the first time since players started reporting to training camp, the former Patriots special teams coordinator refused to discuss either individual players or second-year cornerback DeAndre Baker’s legal problems. He said the release of 2018 Pro Bowl placekicker Aldrick Rosas following a hit-and-run accident was in the best interest of the team. And Judge again voiced his support for left tackle Nate Solder’s decision to opt out of the season because of health concerns during the pandemic. The Giants will adapt and be prepared for any eventuality, including either players or coaches testing positive for COVID-19.
Judge hopes that never happen, of course, but he insists the Giants and every team and player in the league have to work to prevent any outbreaks. He strongly believes following the agreed protocols adopted by the league and players' union are essential.
Energy burst for Burrow
After waiting a few extra months to get on the practice field for the Cincinnati Bengals for the first time, No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow had a little extra energy.
“Everyone’s super anxious to have pads on and start getting some live reps,” Burrow said. “We had our first walkthrough today. Everyone was fired up for that I think I was thrown in a little harder than I should have been in a walkthrough, but it felt good to be out there.”
The Bengals are also happy to have Burrow, hoping their search for the franchise quarterback who can end the NFL’s longest active drought without a playoff win is complete. It’s a tall task for the Heisman Trophy winner who grew up a few hours away in Athens, Ohio. The Bengals last won a playoff game following the 1990 season.
A blow for Bills
Bills starting right guard Jon Feliciano is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Entering his second season in Buffalo, the fifth-year player started 16 games last year and was part of an offensive line that returned all five starters entering training camp . . . Former Patriots QB Danny Etling was placed on Reserve/COVID-19 list by the Falcons . . . Lions safety Jayron Kearse, a free-agent pickup from division rival Minnesota, was suspended the first three games of the 2020 regular season for violating league policy on substance abuse. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices.