Why ESPN's Sean McDonough Is Happy To Be Done With Monday Night Football

Sean McDonough Sportscenter ESPN

When Jon Gruden accepted the job of head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Sean McDonough assumed he'd be getting a new color commentator to join him in the next season of Monday Night Football. McDonough soon discovered that ESPN wanted to go in another direction for its next commentary team and found himself out of the program after a two-year stint as the broadcast's play-by-play commentator. Fortunately, McDonough was quickly able to realize that was a good thing, and shared recently why he was happy to be out of ESPN's NFL commentating team:

As much as it was a great honor to be the voice of Monday Night Football -- and you guys know me well enough, and certainly a lot of my friends and family do -- it wasn't a tremendous amount of fun the last two years. When I took my ego out of it, when the conversation about a reboot of MNF came up, when I took the ego part of it out, and rationalized it, I really could be fine with not being the voice of MNF, then it became easy. I love college football. For me, it's more fun, and that's a personal taste.

ESPN will send Sean McDonough back to the world of college football commentary, where he's been a major commentator for some time now. As McDonough told WEEI, that's where he wants to be, and as cool as it was to be the voice of one of ESPN's biggest programs, he's fine with going back to the world of football on Saturday's and sponsored bowl games. McDonough has called some pretty amazing games in the world of college athletics, and it's fair to say Monday Night Football was not always peak sports entertainment.

Sean McDonough admitted Monday Night Football's weak schedule also made the job less fun, as he and Jon Gruden were peddled in week after week to commentate some of the most uninteresting matchups of the NFL season. McDonough found it hard to get excited about a game that wasn't that interesting, and even when it was, his commentary was not the focal point of the coverage. McDonough said much of his experience was hampered by ESPN wanting co-host Gruden to dominate most of the speaking portions, which sounded like it made him feel like the third wheel on a date night between Gruden and football. McDonough didn't speak ill of his former co-worker, but he definitely sounds like it was hard to get a word in edgewise during games:

If you go back and look at the schedule, generally we got one of the worst NFL games each week. You're trying to make something sound interesting and exciting that isn't. For me, part of it was just the way the booth was set up the last two years. It was really geared around Jon Gruden. That's not unusual, TV really is an analyst-driven medium. Jon had a particular set of skills that he did really well, and foremost among them was analyzing the play, breaking down the play, 'here's why they ran that play, here's why it worked, here's what this guy did or didn't do.' It was really football heavy, X and O heavy, and I think most play-by-play guys, all play-by-play guys, would've felt like a bit of a bystander.

Sean McDonough will remain with ESPN and will be on hand to help commentate the upcoming Golf tournament the Masters. Those looking for information regarding new television set to air in 2018, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.