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Meet Monday Night Football’s New Director: Jimmy Platt

Nine-year ESPN veteran succeeds Chip Dean; Platt explains his love for "documenting a true reality show"

(Photos: ESPN Images/ABC Photos/Courtesy Jimmy Platt; Illustration: Bill Hofheimer)

Jimmy Platt was named ESPN’s new Monday Night Football director today, following in the footsteps of Chip Dean, who moved into a new role in January after directing ESPN NFL telecasts the past 18 years. Platt will now report to Dean.

A nine-year ESPN veteran, Platt has directed football since he joined the company full-time in 2010. The past five years, Platt has directed ESPN and ABC college football games, including at least one New Year’s Six bowl annually. His ESPN director résumé features an array of other marquee sports and events – 10 years of college basketball games, the past two NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Fours, Major League Baseball games since 2013, four NCAA Lacrosse National Championships and four College Football Awards telecasts.

“Jimmy has excelled at directing college football and other major events for ESPN, and we are fortunate to have him move into the director’s chair on Monday Night Football,” said ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production, Stephanie Druley. “The diversity of his experience will bring a new and unique perspective to the role while continuing the tradition of excellence that has been part of Monday Night for nearly five decades.”

Platt discusses MNF, the craft of directing and how he’s approaching this new professional opportunity.

What excites you most about directing MNF?
I’m excited about the challenge to carry such an iconic sports show into the future and help it evolve as the way viewers watch is continually changing.

What’s your favorite part about being a director?
The challenge of documenting a true reality show, where you can plan for situations, but you have to rely on your instinct, communication and vision to tell a story as it unfolds. The beauty of when the game starts is you never know where it will take you or exactly how you will help tell the story of the game.

Do you have a favorite memory of watching MNF?
Sadly for [former Washington quarterback] Joe Theismann it wasn’t a good one. I remember getting to stay up late on a school night and watching that game [Nov. 18, 1985, New York Giants versus Washington Redskins] with my family. I was nine years old at the time and it is a sporting moment, and visual, I’ll never forget. Lawrence Taylor’s reaction tells the entire story of that moment that Joe broke his leg.

What game on the 2019 MNF schedule are you looking forward to most?
Mexico City [Nov. 18: Chargers versus Chiefs]. I love to travel and explore cultures around the world. I especially love Spanish-speaking countries. While I’m not fluent in Spanish, I am a conversational speaker and always enjoy connecting with people to gain a better insight into their country and lives. Plus, it will present a unique opportunity to showcase the NFL in Mexico and challenge us to visually showcase the city, stadium, and people.

Sunday, April 14 in Monterrey, Mexico for ESPN’s MLB Cardinals vs. Reds coverage: (L to R): Jimmy Platt, director; Scott Matthews, producer; play by play commentator Adam Amin; analyst Eduardo Perez; Ivan Sokalsky, production coordinator. (Scott Matthews/ESPN)
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