ESPN made a pretty controversial decision for the College Football Playoff National Championship game, replacing the popular Coaches Film Room broadcast with a broadcast of the Monday Night Football crew. Beyond the fact that the grouping of Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, and Jason Witten has not been especially popular during its first year of calling NFL games, it’s kind of crappy that college football’s biggest game isn’t being analyzed by people who dedicate their lives to studying the sport at this level.
Our first miscue of the night by the MNF crew came on the very first play of the game. Alabama kicked the ball off to Clemson, and the Tigers return man decided to fair catch the ball so it would automatically go out to the 25-yard line. The issue was Witten, who has received the lion’s share of the criticism among members of the MNF team, didn’t know this was legal.
Now, in fairness to Witten, the new rule was put in place for this season, and he’s been busy watching the NFL and getting used to life in the booth. But this is still less than ideal, because putting the MNF crew in for college football coaches, only for a member of the MNF crew to not know how the rules work on the first play of the game, is never a good look.
Maybe this will be a one year thing, and next year, we’ll get to watch college football coaches break down the game while Dana Holgorsen turns down cheese pizza again.