McDonough has taken an interesting route to this gig. He broke out very young when he replaced Jack Buck as the new voice of CBS's ill-fated MLB package while also working regionals for the NCAA Tournament, some NFL games before Fox took the NFC in 1994 and then became CBS's lead college football announcer. He was expected by many to take up a big role when they got the NFL back in 1998 after being one of the few top announcers to stay at CBS. However, he surprisingly being left out by guys that had left CBS like Greg Gumbel and Verne Lundquist, something McDonough was reportedly not happy out, McDonough was moved to the fringe at CBS before being pushed out to make way for Dick Enberg in 2000. McDonough then headed to his current employer and became a key piece of their college football and basketball coverage as well as also working MLB, golf and hockey but he has never been a lead guy for ESPN, at least until now.
That said, this is a terrific move and to me, McDonough was the logical in-house choice. Sure he may not have done the NFL on television in over 20 years but he has long been terrific in whatever role ESPN threw at him. He also happens to be one of my favorite broadcasters at the so-called Worldwide Leader. It will be interesting to see how he pairs with the goofball Gruden but this promotion is well-deserved.
McDonough move to Monday Night Football will help to open up a void on ESPN's college football coverage and then when you factor in Brad Nessler's expected move back to CBS, that means that ESPN will have to replace two of their top three guys. Joe Tessitore seems like a logical fit to move up but he also has to juggle his studio hosting of SEC Nation on Saturday mornings and College Football Final from Bristol at night. We love Dave Pasch but he also has NFL commitments with the Cardinals while Bobby Wischusen has similar commitments with the Jets. Could the very underrated Dave Flemming or Adam Amin be poised to make big jumps, could we see more regular Steve Levy play-by-play appearances or will ESPN pull a surprise and bring in somebody from the outside?
UPDATE: Looks like Tessitore will be replacing Nessler and Levy will be replacing McDonough.