What fans see on Monday Night Football (8 p.m. ET on ESPN) is the culmination of a week of intense preparation for Steve Levy, Brian Griese, Louis Riddick, Lisa Salters and the entire production team. After remote meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday begins the onsite work with travel to that week’s host city. Front Row is providing you a snapshot of a typical week, with a hyper focus of the quartet preparing for Raiders-Chargers. We will have multiple updates throughout the day, including capturing pregame and game action from SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Destination: Los Angeles
Analyst Louis Riddick leaves his South Jersey home, with a cross country flight ahead of him. Most weeks, the main booth flies to the destination of the game on Friday.
Levy Lands in LA
Friday’s flight from Hartford to LA allows Steve Levy plenty of time to multi-task. While studying his play-by-play spotting boards, Levy keeps tabs on NFL Twitter and watches Around the Horn.
The MNF team uses part of Saturday to visit the Chargers’ facility, meet with team personnel and get a look at practice for a Chargers team Levy said, “is one of the stories of the League.”.
Director Jimmy Platt (gray t-shirt) uses some of the time to help ensure he’s providing Levy, Griese, Riddick and Salters the resources they need for the telecast.
The Weekend is also the time for a tele-meeting with the visiting coach (the Raiders’ Jon Gruden) and continues a week-long string of production calls on everything from special animation packages that will be used in-game to a “map” of the “ISO cameras” – isolated shots on individual players or spots – positioned throughout SoFi Stadium.
Spending four consecutive months traveling each week results in routines for many on the MNF team. Brian Griese, for example, regularly includes sunrise runs and game preparation over coffee.
J-E-T-S. . .And all the Sunday games
A Sunday staple for the team is gathering to watch the day’s games with a particular focus on upcoming MNF participants. A side benefit to this weekend: Steve Levy was able to rejoice with all Jets fans on the team’s first victory, in overtime against Tennessee.
Sideline Reporters First Onsite
Sideline reporters Lisa Salters (ESPN) and John Sutcliff (ESPN Deportes) are often the first onsite each week, finalizing stories, interviewing coaches, and filing reports for multiple pregame shows.
Arriving at SoFi Stadium
Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick arrive in the bowels of SoFi Stadium approximately 3.5 hours prior to kickoff. Tonight marks the Chargers first MNF game inside LA’s newest stadium and our commentator’s crew second game at the site, having called Bears-Rams on MNF last season.
Inside the Broadcast Booth
First on Steve Levy’s to-do list when he arrives is to become acclimated with the broadcast booth. Here, he goes over some of tonight’s final plans with spotter Ben Bouma and stage manager Jacqueline Jamison. Former Super Bowl referee and current ESPN rules analyst John Parry also goes through his final prep work once inside the booth
Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman ESPN and Sports Content, meets with Monday Night Football producer Phil Dean (left) and director Jimmy Platt (center) inside the compound at SoFi Stadium.