Two-man booth of Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland will improve ESPN's MNF broadcasts in 2019.
1. We can now officially say RIP to Booger McFarland's bizarre crane.
ESPN announced Wednesday that McFarland will be the lone analyst in the booth for Monday Night Football this season, alongside play-by-play man Joe Tessitore. That means Peyton Manning is still not interested in calling NFL games.
This was the only move and the right move for ESPN. It would've been such a bad look for the network if they blew out the entire crew after only one season. It also would've been unfair to Tessitore and McFarland to only give them one season. The MNF crew last season, which included Jason Witten, was pretty much maligned by viewers througout the year, with Witten being the main target. However, they faced an uphill battle from Day 1, some of it their fault, some of it ESPN's fault and some of it nobody's fault.
As Jim Miller said on the SI Media Podcast in early March, Tony Romo ruined the booth for all newcomers and "wiped out an entire generation" because of how good he has been on CBS.
So that part wasn't anybody's fault. Witten faced an impossible challenge because the comparisons to his former teammate were inevitable. ESPN, though, did not help the crew at all by sticking McFarland in a contraption on the field. It was Tessitore's first year calling the NFL, it was Witten's first time ever calling games and it was Booger's first year doing NFL games and it was impossible for the three men to build chemistry when one guy is out of the booth. This led to the guys trying too hard to seem like bosom buddies and viewers noticed it.
With Witten gone and Booger in the booth next to Tessitore, it's hard to imagine the ESPN booth not improving in 2019.
Now the question is, will the overall telecast improve? As I've written many times, the problem with ESPN was not the announcers as much as it was the overall production, which was obsessed with showing you Tessitore and Witten in the booth, McFarland on his crain, the backs of their heads. They also used odd camera shots and relied on weird graphics packages.
Hopefully with a two-man booth, the entire telecast can become calmer, less frantic and get back to basics.
2. The newest Sports Illustrated Media Podcast features an interview with NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport. The information man talks about the pros and cons of his job, his relationship with Adam Schefter, the scoop he missed out on that irritates him the most, all the fake Ian Rapoport Twitter accounts, the stress of his job, the event he loves to cover the most, the most difficult event to cover and much more.
3. What a refreshing take from Draymond Green. The Warriors star actually admitted that it's been embarrassing that all the talk about the Warriors-Rockets series has been about the refs.
4. Giannis needs to check Fandango before he goes to the theater.
5. Jeopardy!'s James Holzhauer won another $96,000 Tuesday night, bringing his 19-day total winnings to $1,426,330. However, the highlight of Tuesday's episode was not James. It was Alex Trebek giving us some lyrics to Nicki Minaj's Super Bass.
Trebek appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday and updated everyone on his battle with pancreatic cancer.
6. Dean Ambrose is gone from the WWE and he's now using his real name Jon Moxley in the wrestling business. He released this video late Tuesday and it already has more than 1 million views.
7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy May 1.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.
IN CLOSING: The Warriors are currently -180 on 5Dimes to win the NBA title if you like free money.