They’re back for more.

ESPN is giving the people what they want, which is another go-round with the mostly-maligned but nascent crew that just wrapped up their first NFL season together:

Two thoughts, after the jump:

  1. This is not the main broadcast obviously, and the Sports Business Daily blurb says it’s going to be “an X’s and O’s-style telecast from the game site in Santa Clara.” I’m somewhat intrigued to see how this crew does in a different setting while covering the college game. Theoretically, it should play to Witten and McFarland’s strengths as former players, but the addition of McShay seems necessary when you consider the fact that ESPN is using an NFL crew to cover an NCAA game. It’s like Charles Barkley doing March Madness. Obviously he knows basketball, but his expertise is the pro game, not the college game.
  2. Getting rid of the Coaches Film Room is a huge mistake. Not sure if you watched it previously, but I personally thought it was the best part of ESPN’s multi-layered playoff coverage over the last couple of seasons. They would put 5-6 current and former coaches in a room and just let them talk over the broadcast, rewind and fast forward on the spot, and basically just narrate what they were seeing on the field. It was brilliant, the type of access everyone should appreciate and enjoy.

Maybe the Monday Night Football crew does a good job with this, but it seems to me as though ESPN executives are trying to shove a square peg in a round hole. Maybe they’re just trying to get them as much experience and exposure as possible in an effort to make this thing work.

Watch a few minutes of this if you can:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t70AosjPCJo