The College Football Playoff National Championship begins shortly after 8 p.m. ET on Monday in Tampa. If you’re not one of the thousands of people there, you’ll have a buffet of different choices for how to take in the action between Alabama and Clemson. ESPN’s going all out for this one.
The “traditional telecast,” as ESPN calls it, is on the network’s main channel. The announcers are Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Samantha Ponder, and Tom Rinaldi. But it goes a lot deeper than that, with all of these alternative options, via ESPN. Everything is carried on WatchESPN, the company’s streaming service.
ESPN2: Homers Telecast
ESPN’s Joe Tessitore and Adam Amin are doing some game-calling and interviewing, but they’re joined by alums of both teams: former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and former Alabama center Barrett Jones. Boyd and Jones are empowered to root hard for their teams and be huge homers while calling the game. This can be fun.
ESPNEWS: Coaches Film Room
Here’s a really cool way to take in the game, if you’re OK with listening to people talking instead of hearing the sounds of the stadium. There are few commercial breaks, while five big-time coaches sit in a room together and talk about the game:
- Syracuse’s Dino Babers
- Minnesota’s P.J. Fleck
- Colorado’s Mike MacIntrye
- Baylor’s Matt Rhule
- Former Oregon coach Mark Helfrich
These coaches will help us understand the Xs and Os behind the game better. It’s a unique way to take in football, and we only get it once a year.
ESPNU: ESPN Voices
A bunch of ESPN commentators and personalities sitting together watching the game, in what the network calls a “living room-type setting.” They include Michelle Beadle, Keyshawn Johnson, Bill Walton, and Marcellus Wiley.
SEC Network: Finebaum Film Room
Kind of like the Coaches Film Room, but not exactly. This is Paul Finebaum, Booger McFarland, and former Alabama QB Greg McElroy watching the game together and taking calls from other viewers. Special guest: Florida coach Jim McElwain.
ESPN Classic and ESPN3: Sounds of the Game
The game without commentators, and with things like band performances included. If you just want to pretend you’re in the stadium, this is the best choice.
ESPN Goal Line: Command Center
The network describes it thusly:
A split-screen with simultaneous multiple camera views, which could include the main ESPN camera angle, the SkyCam view and isolated camera feeds of both Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney and Alabama head coach Nick Saban. Enhanced statistics and real time drive charts supplement the game action.
Sounds pretty serious.
ESPN3: Hometown Radio, Data Center, SkyCam
Watch the game with either Clemson’s or Alabama’s radio announcers. Bama’s team: Eli Gold, Phil Savage, and Chris Stewart. Clemson’s: Don Munson, Rodney Williams, and Patrick Sapp. Or watch the entire game from an eagle’s eye just above the action, or watch it with a bunch of real-time stats and charts .
Sean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe, and Ian FitzSimmons have the call.
Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega are on the TV call. A special version of SportsCenter follows the game.
ESPN Deportes Radio
Kenneth Garay and Sebastian M. Christensen have the radio call.
The game’s going out to “more than 179 countries” on ESPN International, the network says. Lots of people will be watching.