If you’re an NFL fan trying to watch the 2018 Pro Bowl and can’t get past just how bad the ESPN production and announcing crew is doing, you’re not alone.
During the annual showcase of the best players in the AFC and NFC, fans fed up with the shaky announcing of Jason Witten and Booger McFarland as well as the numerous flubs from the production took to the internet to voice their complaints.
This is far from the first time that fans have turned against the ESPN announcing crew. There have been similar complaints throughout the season during Monday Night Football, including a game in December in which the announcing crew spoke at length about the Redskins’ decision to sign Reuben Foster after his domestic violence allegations, sometimes missing key parts of the game to offer their opinions on domestic violence. Fans were not too happy, especially considering Witten was notorious for defending former teammate Greg Hardy after Hardy’s domestic violence arrest.
The backlash even prompted ESPN to offer a statement, noting that Witten was still learning the ropes of the announcing booth and asking fans to give him a bit of time.
“It’s been 12 games,” ESPN Monday Night Football producer Jay Rothman said about Witten’s first season in the booth via the Star Telegram.
“We knew this would not be an overnight sensation, and I do believe he is getting better and better. We just ask for a little patience.”
But as the backlash during the Pro Bowl showed, fans are just about out of patience. Many called on ESPN to come back with a new announcing crew next season, or at least reassign Witten so he can get more experience at a level where the stakes — and the viewership — aren’t so high.
There were plenty of points of contention for fans watching the 2018 Pro Bowl. Aside from the seemingly erratic contributions from Witten and McFarland, fans also noticed that the production crew was a little too late in bleeping swear words from the mic’ed up players, and a sideline interview with a young Disney Channel star with a microphone that didn’t want to work.
Patrick Mahomes was mic’d up at the Pro Bowl and there were good and, um, bad moments https://t.co/hQ4vfb1RIn— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) January 27, 2019
But most of the complaints were centered around the announcing itself, with fans weary of a season in which former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had a rough transition to the booth.
Can 2020 come faster so that I never have to hear Jason Witten and Booger mid game again?— Jacob Petroski (@TheOnlyJDP) January 27, 2019
@ForFootballGods why make us suffer the pro bowl even more with Jason Witten and Booger McFarland?— Kyle Dyer (@13_dyerman) January 27, 2019
Booger McFarland even sucks at commentating the Pro Bowl.— Madie Elise (@MadieD15) January 27, 2019
@ESPNNFL Witten and Booger are the worst in the booth. U got to change next year. All sports network but u have problems hiring descent guys for the booth.— Gregory Moran (@harry9hood) January 27, 2019
It’s not clear if fans will get their wish for Jason Witten and Booger McFarland to be moved off the ESPN NFL announcing crew, but the network is likely hearing the complaints loud and clear.