Sean McDonough has been selected to replace Mike Tirico as ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” play-by-play man, becoming just the fifth person in the franchise’s storied 46-year history to occupy the seat.
McDonough has been with the company since 2000, which actually marks his second ESPN stint — he originally worked there from 1989 to 1995. The versatile sportscaster has called the World Series, NCAA Final Four and the Olympic Games — among other events and leagues — while his recent NFL experience has mostly been on radio.
“Sean is a premier play-by-play commentator who combines a signature voice with intelligence, passion and humor, and he always brings out the best in his partners,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, Programming and Production. “‘Monday Night Football’ has a rich history and a bright future ahead with our new booth team of Sean and Jon.”
Tirico is leaving Disney’s self-identified Worldwide Leader in Sports for NBC Sports, where he’ll start in July. Prior to Tirico, only Keith Jackson, Frank Gifford and Al Michaels have held the prestigious “Monday Night Football” on-air lead post.
“This is a dream come true,” added McDonough, who will make his “MNF” debut at the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 7. “One of my favorite memories of my childhood was watching ‘Monday Night Football’ with my dad, who I know is smiling down on me today. I am humbled and deeply honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the most iconic franchise in the history of sports television.”
“I have met Sean and I am excited about the opportunity to work with him,” new partner Jon Gruden stated. “Like me, he comes from a family of three boys. Passion for sports has been a way of life for him and his brothers. He’s a seasoned pro, who’s called some of the biggest sporting events, including lots of football. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
McDonough recently signed a new contract extension to remain at ESPN. In addition to “Monday Night Football,” McDonough will continue his ESPN college basketball assignments after the NFL season.
Before ESPN, McDonough was the television play-by-play announcer for the Boston Red Sox from 1988-2004. He also spent 10 years at CBS Sports, where he was the network’s lead college football play-by-play announcer from 1997 to 1999.