This is an excellent move by ESPN, which sometimes has a thing for star power instead of a solid nuts-and-bolts broadcast. Personally, I prefer a two-person booth to a three-person booth. Joe Buck–Troy Aikman, Jim Nantz–Tony Romo and Al Michaels–Cris Collinsworth are all excellent teams. Less is more in the NFL.
ESPN likes to think Monday Night Football is very special, so we get a three-man booth, but I predict this one will have success.
We don't need to rehash the network trying to catch its own version of Tony Romo–like lightning in a bottle with Jason Witten and putting Booger McFarland in a crane to call the games. We all know how that turned out.
And yes, this three-man booth would not exist if Peyton Manning had fulfilled ESPN's desire to join the broadcasting world.
But the team of Levy-Griese-Riddick will be a blessing for ESPN. Three likable guys led by an excellent game caller in Levy and one of the best analysts on television in Riddick. Plus, Levy and Griese have chemistry from calling college football for the past four seasons.
As I've said many times over the past couple of years, Monday Night Football has had a lot of issues with its telecast. It wasn't just the booth. Bizarre camera shots, constantly showing the booth and weird graphics were among the things hurting the broadcast.
These things need to change, but at least ESPN doesn't have to worry about its booth also being a big problem.
Joe Tessitore, Witten and McFarland took a beating on social media. Manning would've had every word scrutinized on social media. The crew of Levy-Riddick-Griese will not face that same pressure. And ESPN will be thrilled with that.
The new booth will cater to the legit, hardcore football fan, and that will be a win for ESPN and viewers.
2. Speaking of ESPN going for star power over quality in the booth, A-Rod embarrassed himself again Sunday night comparing Aaron Judge to Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. And this is coming from a die-hard Yankees fan who loves Aaron Judge more than most of my family members.
What's interesting about this is that ESPN's official Twitter account posted the home run clip and cut it off right before A-Rod's ridiculous statement. It's almost like even ESPN knew it was cringeworthy.
3. "The Rock" has yet another job: owner of the XFL. And fans had fun with this news.
4. Gregg Popovich had A LOT to say about Marco Belinelli's availability Sunday.
5. ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy shared his thoughts on a wide range of topics during the latest SI Media Podcast. Among the topics: Magic City wings, Lou Williams's suspension, how weekday afternoon games will have an impact on players, calling games from the Orlando bubble, the NBA being a totally different game today than in the '80s and '90s, people not wearing masks, Twitter, The Last Dance and much more.
6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: One of The Rock's best promos ever.
7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Here's Dwayne Johnson sacking Charlie Ward during a 1993 Miami-Florida State game, called by Keith Jackson.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.