Kirk Herbstreit shined during his Monday Night Football debut last week and is getting a second chance to prove he's ready for the pros.
ESPN announced today that Herbstreit will help lead their Monday night MegaCast on ESPN2 for the Saints-Raiders Week 2 showdown, which features the Radiers debuting their new Las Vegas stadium.
Herbstreit, who calls ESPN's college football game of the week in primetime, was mentioned as a potential candidate to join their Monday Night Football booth this past offseason. ESPN ultimately went with Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick in the booth.
Here's ESPN's PR release about Herbstreit's involvement with the MegaCast.
"The MegaCast presentation on ESPN2 will feature Rece Davis, from ESPN’s studios in Bristol, Ct., and Kirk Herbstreit, from his home in Nashville, Tenn., in a virtual atmosphere. The duo will host a free-flowing conversation with various guests, from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, who will drop in and out throughout the game. The viewer experience will be multi-boxed, with the game, Davis, Herbstreit and guests appearing on the screen while conversation surrounding the game will serve as the audio. NFL dignitaries, current and former players, famous Raiders fans, celebrities, musicians and more are expected to drop in throughout the night. The presentation will touch on a variety of topics, including those on and off the field, and will include interactive fan polling to add to the virtual event."
I wrote about Herbstreit being sublime when he called the Steelers win over the Giants this past Monday. His normal play-by-play man for college football, Chris Fowler, was also solid, but Herbstreit was the star. He provided interesting backstories about the players that he developed while covering them in college and also had incredible quick-reaction analysis about what each team was trying to do on offense.
This is different, of course, as Herbstreit will be part of a conversation, not leading it. There will be interviews, another change, and likely less analysis. But the fact that ESPN is giving him this opportunity speaks to their interest in featuring him in their NFL coverage more often. That's a big change for a man who has been their top college football analyst, and the top college football analyst in the game, for over a decade. But after his spectacular debut earlier this week, it's not a big surprise either.