Like a baseball manager trying to spark his ballclub, ESPN has tinkered with the lineup through the years when it comes to the season-opening Monday Night Football doubleheader. Mike Golic, Mike Greenberg, Chris Berman, Rex Ryan, Mike Ditka, and Sergio Dipp are some notable and somewhat strange names that have worked the second game of the night.
Last year Beth Mowins, Brian Griese, and Laura Rutledge actually handled the first game before the debut of then-A Team Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, and Booger McFarland. This year it’s back to normal with Tessitore and McFarland working the Texans-Saints matchup, followed by Griese and Rutledge joining Steve Levy and Louis Riddick for Broncos-Raiders.
This appears to the be most solid alternate crew ESPN has put together, and one without gimmicks. Levy and Griese work together on college football and are an enjoyable watch. Levy also excels on radio broadcasts and brings a unique energy. Riddick was rumored to be in play for the booth’s analyst gig as recently as a few weeks ago. Rutledge is one of the network’s rising stars who is versatile enough to work the sideline and add opinion.
So that’s the good news. The bad news is that if this foursome delivers a solid broadcast, it’ll be fodder for those who love to razz the current MNF crew, which will once again be under an intense spotlight this season.
Riddick has the most to gain with a good showing as the top booth could easily go back to three people should the suits decide he’d be addition by addition.