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Volume 25 No. 86
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Tessitore Wants New "MNF" Crew To Channel Program's "1970s Vibe"

Tessitore said he feels like he's being handed the keys to a car he's wanted to drive for a long time

ESPN’s Joe Tessitore called his new role as "MNF" play-by-play announcer a "legacy job" and hopes the new crew can "bring it back to a joyful broadcast of ‘Monday Night Football,’ maybe channeling a little bit of that 1970s vibe." Tessitore: "I’m aware of the lineage. ... You feel like you are being handed the keys to the car that has been sitting there and you’ve wanted to drive for a long time so I'm thrilled to be with this team. ... This is a dynamic new team ... We’ve been hanging out, having dinners and drinking a little bit in New York for three days so we’re channeling that group pretty well.” New "MNF" analyst Jason Witten added, “I'm excited. It was a long process going through it. The entire offseason ... I thought I was going to play. When ESPN comes calling, it forced me to take a step back, and here we are today” (“Get Up!,” ESPN, 5/16). 

READY FOR THE SWITCH: Cowboys radio play-by-play voice Brad Sham said of his expectations for Witten as a broadcaster, "I did not know that he had an interest in broadcasting. And I'm not sure until fairly recently that he knew it. But I do know his personality, his intelligence, and his work ethic, and cannot think of any reason why he would not succeed." Sham said Witten also has a "deep insightful knowledge of every aspect of the game." Sham: "He sees it the way quarterbacks do because of how he's studied it, coverages, blocking schemes, the whole thing that makes a play work" (, 5/15).

STARS SHINE BRIGHT: In Dallas, Jon Machota noted Witten is the latest former Cowboys player to "take a major television gig." Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston "call games in the booth for Fox," while Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and Darren Woodson "all have in-studio jobs as NFL analysts." Former Cowboys QBs Don Meredith, Roger Staubach and Eddie LeBaron have also "worked in the TV booth." ESPN Senior VP/Events & Studio Production Stephanie Druley in a conference call said, "We all know that the Cowboys are the team that networks would like to see as much as possible on their schedules, so they're getting the experience with the top-notch groups that come through there when you talk about a production meeting." Druley added said that sort of time with national TV crews "prepares these guys to be extremely eloquent and able to understand sort of what this side of the camera is like" (, 5/14).