With Jon Gruden returning to the Oakland Raiders as their absurdly expensive head coach, it means there will be a new color commentator next to play-by-play (crackable) voice Sean McDonough on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
As ESPN looks for Gruden’s replacement, the first man up for tryouts is former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who will call both the Pro Bowl (January 28th) and the Pro Bowl skills ompetition (broadcast on January 25th) in Orlando, Florida. Hasselbeck is already a studio analyst for the network, working on Monday Night Countdown.
ESPN sent out the following in this press release:
“Matt has experience calling games and will be a great fit alongside Sean McDonough for this Pro Bowl assignment. He is a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback with connections to many players and coaches throughout the league, and he was already scheduled to cover the game as part of our ESPN studio team.
“The process for determining our new Monday Night Football booth is already underway. We are looking at both internal and external candidates and expect to have a decision made this spring. This is one of the most high-profile and attractive positions in all of sports broadcasting so we want to take our time to ensure we make the best decision.”
Hasselbeck was himself a three-time Pro Bowler, including the magical 2005 season, which saw the Seahawks go to their first Super Bowl in franchise history. The 42-year-old was not re-signed by Seattle following the 2010 season, which was notable for the sad calls for Charlie Whitehurst as a fading Hasselbeck struggled. Hasselbeck’s final home game proved to be one of his greatest in a Seahawks uniform, as he threw four touchdowns and helped the Seahawks topple the heavily favored New Orleans Saints 41-36 in the 2011 Wild Card round.
When Hasselbeck retired after the 2015 season, which he spent with the Indianapolis Colts, but did sign a one-day contract to retire as a Seahawk. ESPN soon signed him up to replace Mike Ditka on Sunday NFL Countdown, and now he has his chance to potentially work his way to Monday Night Football game analyst.
The 2018 Pro Bowl airs on both ESPN and ABC at 11:50 AM PT, so if current Seahawks competing in that game isn’t enough to entice you to watch, maybe the inclusion of Hasselbeck in the broadcast booth will make you at least watch a small portion of it.