EDITOR’S NOTE: With this multi-week series — the Front Row Forward/Rewind, 2016/2015 — ESPN’s Communications Department takes the pulse of content executives throughout ESPN for their views on what’s ahead across ESPN for 2016 and some of what transpired in 2015. The snapshots provide a look at where ESPN has been, where it’s going and how it plans on getting there.
NFL: Monday Night Football
Vice President of Production and Monday Night Football producer Jay Rothman discusses the best examples of his division’s teamwork, a “social” moment of 2015 and what excites him about the year ahead:
On the MNF team:
They love football. They took such pride and such passion in being a part of the MNF team. I’m sorry to see it end. We loved each other like a family and got better together as the season went on. I was proud of the effort each and every week.
On working alongside director Chip Dean for the 25th year:
Properly documenting the game is the most important thing, and we don’t take that lightly at all. Having said that, the fun has been to raise the bar, maybe in some cases set the standard both at our network and in the industry – at least that’s our goal, innovating, integrating new technologies and improving the viewing experience for fans.
On implementing new technologies:
I think we’ve accomplished that in a number of ways throughout our 25 years. An example from this year – we integrated Pylon Cam into our coverage. No greater did it play out than with the Odell Beckham Jr. catch in our Giants-Dolphins game. That was the deciding angle that changed the call on the field to a touchdown. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s a sampling of reaction to the shot on Twitter.]
On the team’s biggest achievement:
We ended the season on a great note in Denver. That was the culmination of pushing each other to improve. Two percent – that was our mantra – each and every week just get two percent better. And we did. I couldn’t have been happier. It was also our highest-rated and most-watched game of the season.
What excites you about 2016?
This weekend’s Wild Card game. We’re treating this as an extension of MNF, which we put our hearts and souls into each and every week. We’re proud we are one of the four networks presenting on Wild Card weekend and we get to kick it all off, so we get to set the standard right out of the gate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: ESPN’s NFL Wild Card game – Chiefs at Texans – airs Saturday, Jan. 9, at 4:20 p.m. ET on ESPN/ABC/WatchESPN/ESPN Deportes.