Tony Kornheiser, ESPN expect him back for Season 4
Will Tony Kornheiser be back for a fourth season of "Monday Night Football" on ESPN, which would qualify as a run far longer than many would have predicted when all this began back in 2006?
"We expect Tony to be back," a spokesman said, a notion reinforced by the fact ESPN included his name on its release Monday regarding the juicy opening tilt between T.O.'s Bills and T.B.'s Patriots.
So it appears only a game-changer - say, Brett Favre storming the gates in Bristol and insisting on replacing Kornheiser in the booth - will alter the existing game plan.
I asked (Lynbrook) Tony himself how he feels about coming back:
"At the end of last year I told them I'd like to do it again if they wanted me back. The main reason being I think the show has gotten better and better and better.
"Its not for me to judge this, but I think that the 'Monday Night Football' broadcast last year was better than the year before and better than the year before that."
ESPN ditched Joe Theismann in favor of Ron Jaworski after 2006, then streamlined the show by mostly eliminating booth guests and sideline reporters after '07.
Complaints from fans and viewers were down significantly last year, based on the feedback to sports media "watchogs" from me to ESPN's own ombudsman.
Kornheiser never opposed the concept of booth guests, believing they were a good idea if used judiciously.
"Philosophically, I still believe in the ability to have booth guests," Kornheiser said.
"If I ran the zoo and I could get [Tom Brady's wife] Gisele Bundchen in the booth, Id try. I don't care if she says anything, I would just like to do a cutaway shot of her sitting here. I know nobody likes booth guests, but thats a rocker, putting her in there."
Click below for more from Tony.
Photos: AP, GettyOn the opening matchup: "It's spectacular. You cant ask for a better dramatic circumstance than the return of Tom Brady, and Terrell Owens against Randy Moss. Can you ask for something better than that? If youre drawing up matchups, youd have to think that was top three."
On his chemistry with Jaworski: "Having known something about chemistry through 'PTI,' I think Jaws and I worked pretty well together."
On whether he'll be back: "I think Im back. They always talk to me as if Im back. Im the paranoid one. Im the one whos always announcing who would be better in the booth than me."
On what he dislikes about the job: "I hate the flying. Nothing changes with that. Its very difficult to do."
On his role in the booth: "I hope to add the voice of 95 to 98 percent of the viewers who didnt play college or pro football. It's, 'Heres what Im thinking when I watch the game.'"