Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden Ready to Tackle 'Monday Night Football' Announcing Duties

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Sean McDonough (left) and Jon Gruden

MNF kicks off Sept. 12 on ESPN.

When ESPN's Monday Night Football premieres in early September, there will be a changing of the guard in the commentators booth. 

For the first time in about a decade, a new voice will be calling the play by play, and that announcer, Sean McDonough, tells The Hollywood Reporter he is excited for the opportunity and plans to make his part fun for viewers.

"Monday Night Football is an iconic sports television package," says the veteran sportscaster replacing Mike Tirico, who left ESPN in early July to join NBC Sports, teeing up McDonough to become only the fifth person to do the play by play for MNF

Joining him in the booth is Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden; Lisa Salters is the sideline reporter.

"One of the things that Jon and I have talked about, it should be fun," McDonough tells THR. "I think some levity here and there and ... some banter back and forth and the playful jab as we get to know each other better. I think we'll do a great job with the football part ... what I would like to see is it be a little more fun."

Gruden agrees, saying a great broadcast should be "informative, fun, but celebrating the game between the lines."

He adds: "And it's getting harder and harder to do, obviously with all the rule changes and instant replay challenges. There's a lot of road blocks in the games that there use to never be, really."

Both men have multiple teams they are excited to watch this season. For Gruden, those teams are the Oakland Raiders, whom he once coached, and the Washington Redskins, whom his brother currently coaches. As for McDonough, he will be keeping an eye on the Arizona Cardinals. His brother, Terry, is the director of player personnel for the team. Having grown up in Boston, he also is excited for the New England Patriots, he says. 

For the first time ever, MNF will broadcast abroad when the Houston Texans play the Raiders in Mexico City on Nov. 21.

"I'm really excited to make some new friends over there," says Gruden. 

Both broadcasters had plenty to say about the Tom Brady situation and the fact that the star Patriots quarterback will likely miss four games of the regular season after a federal appeals court this week refused to hear his Deflategate case. 

"I think he should play. Enough is enough," says Gruden. "We are talking about the icon in pro football. Brady should be the opening-day starter for the Patriots. We're lucky to have him in the league for as long as we have him."

McDonough agrees, saying the idea of the case going all the way to the Supreme Court is silly. 

"I think the court has more important things to do than worry about underinflated footballs," he adds, chuckling. 

MNF kicks off Sept. 12 on ESPN with a double-header — the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams vs. the San Francisco 49ers. 

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