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ESPN wants to find the next Tony Romo with its ‘Monday Night Football’ auditions

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Romo might have changed NFL broadcasting in the future for the better.

The race for networks airing NFL games to find the next Tony Romo is on, but it’s a two-way street — players seem to want to be the next Romo in the booth, too.

The New York Post reported that Brett Favre recently bombed his audition to be Jon Gruden’s Monday Night Football replacement. But they also reported that a couple of current pros also had auditions.

Those two players are All-Pro tight ends Jason Witten and Greg Olsen. Both are under contract to play next season, and it seems that they will be playing in 2018. Olsen has previous experience in the booth, after he did color commentary for the Vikings-Rams game in Week 14 (which the Vikings weren’t all too happy about). ESPN also reportedly brought in the recently retired and charismatic Joe Thomas in for an audition.

Among players who have been out of the league for a while with TV experience, Kurt Warner, Matt Hasselbeck, and Louis Riddick have all gotten consideration. The auditions have been done with Joe Tessitore in the booth, who is replacing Sean McDonough, orator of one of the most entertaining calls last season.

Warner, Hasselbeck, and Riddick all would be good options. But after Romo firmly grasped our attention last season, it seems ESPN might prefer to go with somebody that’s recently out of the game. They’re recognizable for fans of all ages, and if they’re anything like Romo, would bring not just widespread knowledge and predicting plays ahead of time, but energy to the game as well.

As much as people might have enjoyed Jon Gruden, nobody has put us in the mind of Bill Belichick like Romo did:

You weren’t going to get this kind of prediction from anybody else in broadcasting, either:

There were times where he reminded you he was human, and a fan of football like the rest of us too. Every noise uttered here was just about all of us watching this close Danny Amendola reception in the AFC Championship:

It’s these things that ESPN, and other networks like FOX and NBC could try to replicate in the future. Players like Witten and Olsen could certainly be good in the booth, but there’s a gigantic pallet of options now that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise considered in the past.

For all the trash talk that Romo took as a player, he was a breath of fresh air as a broadcaster in his first season. And he might be changing the way that networks approach who they target in the future.

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