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Former Fox Sports president David Hill isn’t a fan of ESPN mainstream Monday night football broadcast team, which he expressed bluntly in a conversation with the New York Postby Andrew Marchand.
In the latest edition of its premium “Sports Clicker” newsletter (subscribe here), Marchand spoke to former Fox executive about his new venture. Hill was contacted by Greg Norman to work on a new golf league. The challenge is to innovate in the coverage of golf on television and to attract a much younger audience than the average 65-year-old who watch the sport.
The one sport that isn’t struggling with how to present itself on TV and streaming these days is the NFL according to Hill. Having overseen Fox Sports when the network got into NFL business, he has clear ideas about the current product. And he’s not a fan of what ESPN does with Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick on its NFL broadcast.
“I think ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’ is a disgrace,” Hill told Marchand. “The broadcast feed is almost inaudible. I think that’s why they decided to use the Mannings.
Although he didn’t go into specifics, Hill is a fan of the “ManningCast.” It’s likely he thinks alternative broadcasting is doing a better job of attracting viewers more interested in video games and consuming their sports digitally.
Hill also praised CBS analyst Tony Romo, NBC broadcaster Cris Collinsworth and Fox announcer Troy Aikman. His thoughts on Aikman should probably come as no surprise, though the Hall of Fame quarterback joined Fox Sports’ NFL coverage after Hill moved into an executive role for 21st Century Fox.
There’s no way to tell if ESPN executives have the same opinion of the current Monday night football team. But that will surely be revealed by whether or not the network decides whether to bring the crew back for a third season.
Marchand reports that Griese’s contract is coming to an end, so a decision will obviously have to be made if the FMN trio is back. So that could create an opening for Sean Payton, Pete Carroll and Sean McVay, the three coaches have reportedly sparked interest television channels.
ESPN has already spoken to McVay about FMN position in 2020. Of course, he has a shot at reaching the pinnacle of the coaching profession if the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl. But maybe he would like to go out on a high.
Curiously, Riddick was not interviewed for the Bears, Giants or Vikings general manager openings after speaking to the Lions, Texans and Jaguars last year. But if that changes and Riddick moves to a team’s front office, ESPN would have to replace two broadcasters in its three-man booth.
ESPN may consult with Hill on his future direction for the FMN stand. Alright, probably not. But Hill certainly seems willing to consult.