On Sept. 9, “Monday Night Football” returns for its 50th season. Over the years, it has some great play-by-play broadcasters, including Frank Gifford, Al Michaels, and its current one, Joe Tessitore.
Over the last 15-plus years, Tessitore, 48, has become one of the best and most versatile sportscasters working today. Here are five facts you may or may not know about him.
1. He got his start in boxing
Tessitore was the main sports anchor at WFSB (CBS) in Hartford, Conn., before moving to ESPN in 2002 to call boxing matches on “Tuesday Night Fights” and “Friday Night Fights.” Since then, he has done play-by-play for college football and basketball games and horse races. In addition to his role on “Monday Night Football,” he still covers fights for “Top Rank Boxing” on ESPN.
2. His broadcasting style has its own nickname
Well, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. Tessitore has called some of the wildest college football games of the 2010s and his thrilling broadcast style has elevated the drama of them and produced huge social media buzz. So sportswriters gave the whole churn a nickname, “The Tess Effect.”
3. He has produced ESPN documentaries
Tessitore has held a number of side gigs over the years, including hosting NBC’s “The Contender,” and being the announcer on one of EA Sports Fight Night video games. He also has produced two ESPN documentaries, “Roll Tide/War Eagle” and the 30 for 30 special, “You Don’t Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson.”
4. His son is a kicker at Boston College
Tessitore graduated from Boston College and his son, John, is a kicker on the Eagles football team. Ranked 16th nationally among high school kickers by 247Sports, he was redshirted in 2017 and booted 14 extra points in four games in ’18.
5. He has an eerie parallel to Howard Cosell
Like Cosell, Tessitore made a name for himself in boxing before moving to “Monday Night Football” as arguably the biggest name in broadcasting. Like Tessitore, the late Cosell had a very distinct blow-by-blow broadcasting style. In 2017, Tessitore even co-hosted a re-launch of “Battle of the Network Stars,” a show helmed by Cosell in the 1970s. However, they are different in the fact that Cosell only did commentary for “Monday Night Football” and was much more acerbic that Tessitore.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Photo courtesy of ESPN Images)