Joe Buck, Troy Aikman Rehearse for ESPN, Social Media Rips Monday Night Football ‘B-Team’

by Patrick Norton

When the games begin to matter, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will debut in their new timeslot for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. But while the NFL preseason provides live practice to perfect the on-field craft before the regular season, it’s a similar outlet for broadcasts.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio revealed that the former NFL on FOX duo performed a live rehearsal during the network’s Thursday night broadcast of Monday Night Football. However, that wasn’t what viewers of the game heard.

Instead, ESPN’s audience for the preseason matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears listened to the network’s “B-Team”. Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese made up the Monday Night Football booth last season. However, the network added Dan Orlovsky when Griese left to coach the quarterbacks with the San Francisco 49ers.

Orlovsky – most famous for unknowingly running through the back of the endzone for a safety during his career – brought unpopular analysis and plenty of frustration to last night’s broadcast.

While Buck and Aikman privately practiced before their regular season debut less than a month away, social media lambasted the makeshift crew on Thursday night.

Bears fans and blogger Brendan Sugrue tweeted out the overwhelming attitude toward Orlovsky’s NFL broadcasting debut. The former quarterback uses the worldwide leader in sports to spew takes, but hadn’t provided live game analysis to this point.

Following a special teams gaffe from the Seahawks resulting in a Chicago touchdown, Louis Riddick provided some odd commentary. The touchdown bumped Chicago’s lead to 17 points. However, Riddick said the turnover brought the Bears “new life”.

Yes, Football Fans Actually Miss Joe Buck

As the season rapidly approaches, Monday Night Football’s new booth brings a ‘big game” style back to ESPN. While Jon Gruden and other colorful characters held down the fort after John Madden’s 2006 departure, it never retained premiere status.

And while the Buck and Aikman booth received plenty of criticism for a variety of reasons, Buck’s voice brings special meaning. Calling multiple Super Bowls and plenty of playoff action for FOX, ESPN’s significant investment brings premiere energy back to the booth.

One fan speaks for many in his criticism of last night’s coverage. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman truly cannot get into the booth soon enough. But football season and ESPN’s A-Team is just around the corner.