ESPN's New "MNF" Booth Has Solid Start; Fowler-Herbstreit Impress
ESPN debuted its new "MNF" booth last night for Titans-Broncos, and the crew of Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick was "sharp, informative, and insightful in their first game together," according to Robby Kalland of UPROXX. It "wasn’t a major surprise that this was a solid broadcast, as Levy is the consummate professional, calling everything from college football to the XFL for ESPN in recent years." Griese has "always been sharp in the booth on college football games, while Riddick emerged as a star on ESPN’s studio shows." However, the "question was how they’d mesh as a group, given that’s been an issue" in the post-Jon Gruden era. But the new crew last night was "smooth, didn’t step over each other, and provided terrific insight into the game." Griese and Riddick "managed to thread the needle of getting into coverages, alignments, schemes, and play design without it feeling like they were either talking down to the viewer or speaking at too high of a level for a more casual fan" (UPROXX.com, 9/15).
THE OLD COLLEGE TRY: SI.com's Jimmy Traina notes ESPN used its usual top college football duo of Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit for the opening game of the "MNF" doubleheader, Steelers-Giants, and it "shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Fowler and Herbstreit called a very good game." The pair have "worked together for ages now, they have chemistry and Herbstreit is as good a football analyst as there is on all of TV." But it was still "impressive to see them switch from college to NFL so effortlessly." The NFL is "much quicker and much crisper," but Fowler and Herbstreit "had no issues at all handling the transition." The production of the game "was also a breath of fresh air," as ESPN's top college team that "works with Fowler and Herbstreit produced the Steelers-Giants game" (SI.com, 9/15).