There’s a fresh face in ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” booth, one that casual NFL viewers may not recognize — and that’s just the way Sean McDonough likes it.
“I know that there’s some people out there who don’t know who I am that are gonna turn on the TV and say, ‘Who’s that guy?'” the new play-by-play man told TheWrap during a recent interview.
That’s probably about to change, which the only part of the high-profile gig the veteran broadcaster isn’t excited about.
“I have friends who are real celebrities, and I see what their life is like,” McDonough, who will act as Mike Tirico’s replacement and Jon Gruden’s new partner, said.
However, the son of Boston Globe sportswriting legend Will McDonough knows a little something about having big shoes to fill but he’s ready to make the role his own — and he’s got a few ideas on how to do that.
“I’m not afraid to give my opinion, I think a lot of play-by-play guys shy away from that,” Sean told TheWrap.
So we asked him for some of those opinions — primarily for (an admittedly early) Super Bowl prediction.
“I just think it’s so hard to predict in this sport because injuries are such a huge part of it — especially if you lose your quarterback,” McDonough wisely hedged. Then he offered some anyway.
“A lot of people like Pittsburgh [Steelers] — and I certainly do,” he continued. “Obviously, it’s gonna hurt the first few weeks playing without [suspended running back] Le’veon Bell.”
“And I think as long as No. 12 is still wearing a New England Patriots uniform, it’s hard to pick against them,” McDonough added.
By the way, for the uninitiated, that’s Tom Brady‘s jersey number. He’s good.
“In the NFC, I really like the Arizona Cardinals if Carson Palmer stays healthy,” McDonough concluded. “They had a great season last year, and I think … their window with him is probably closing a little bit.”
Admittedly, McDonough’s brother Terry is the vice president of Player Personnel for the Cardinals, so it’s not hard for him to root for them.
We’ll find out how his freshman picks did in a few months; Super Bowl LI will air Feb. 5, 2017 on Fox.
McDonough’s first “Monday Night Football” game kicks off on Sept. 12, when those Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Washington Redskins at 7:10 p.m. ET, followed by the L.A. Rams at the San Francisco 49ers.