Dierdorf Sacked By ABC's MNF


The NFL's most high-profile announcing team is undergoing its second major change in two years.

Dan Dierdorf announced Thursday that he is leaving his job as an analyst for ABC's Monday Night Football after 12 years at the network, leaving Al Michaels as the only announcer who has been in the booth for more than one season.

"Yesterday, ABC Sports informed my representatives at The Marquee Group that no substantial offer to extend my contract would be forthcoming," Dierdorf's statement said. "Therefore, Sunday's broadcast of the Pro Bowl will be my last for ABC."

Dierdorf's departure had been speculated for weeks, as ABC seemed unwilling to renew his $1.75 million a year contract. Dierdorf had come under heavy criticism this season as he struggled to mesh with newcomer Boomer Esiason in ABC's three-man booth.

"He is a very talented broadcaster, who earned the respect, admiration and friendship of everyone with whom he worked at ABC Sports," said Brian McAndrews, executive vice president and general manager of ABC Sports. "We wish him luck in his future endeavors."

About a replacement, ABC Sports spokesman Mark Mandel said, "It would be premature to discuss our plans for next season."

With most of the top announcing talent locked up by other networks, ABC probably will have to look to cable partner ESPN for a replacement.

Analyst Sterling Sharpe is one of the leading contenders to replace Dierdorf. But Disney could also decide to move one of ESPN's Sunday night analysts -- Paul Maguire or Joe Theismann -- to the ABC and plug the less experienced Sharpe into the cable slot.

After last season, Esiason replaced Frank Gifford after 27 years in the booth. That was the first change to ABC's announcing team since Dierdorf joined Michaels and Gifford in 1987.

Dierdorf may have trouble ending up at another network for this upcoming season. Fox has no apparent openings and ESPN is run by the same people who ousted Dierdorf at ABC.

CBS seems unwilling to shuffle its top announcing teams to make room for Dierdorf, who began his network career at CBS.

"To this point, CBS has not expressed an interest in Dan Dierdorf," CBS Sports spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade said.

© 1998 CBS SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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