Joe Tessitore Under Fire for ‘Harsh’ MNF Commentary

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Joe Tessitore

Business Insider: The Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers in an overtime thriller on Monday night for their first loss of the season. During overtime, 49ers kicker Chase McLaughlin missed a potential game-winning field goal, with play-by-play commentator Joe Tessitore saying, “the moment was too big.” Fans took issue with Tessitore’s critique, saying he was unfairly burying a kicker who had already hit three important field goals for the 49ers earlier in the game.

The game was an instant-classic for “Monday Night Football” with regard to the action on the field, with both teams pulling off late scoring drives to force the best out of their opponent. But even with the great game on the field, play-by-play man Joe Tessitore and color commentator Booger McFarland once again struggled to connect with fans watching at home, even drawing the ire of some for their call on a late missed field goal.

With the 49ers needing any score to win after stopping the Seahawks on the opening possession of overtime, San Francisco lined up for a 47-yard field goal attempt.

Kicker Chase McLaughlin, an undrafted rookie playing in his first game for the 49ers, had already nailed three field goals on the night, and with this kick had the chance to play hero for his new team. Instead, he botched the kick, punching the ball wide left to keep the overtime period going.

“The moment was too big,” Tessitore said. Tessitore’s turn of phrase might have gone unremarked upon had McLaughlin not already made kicks from 43, 39, and 47 yards earlier in the game, with the last coming as time expired in regulation.

The kick McLaughlin made was arguably bigger than the one he missed – the Niners would have lost had he missed his final kick in regulation, but were still alive to win or at least tie the Seahawks after his miss in overtime.

On Twitter, fans expressed some frustration with Tessitore’s commentary, specifically his implying that McLaughlin cracked under pressure.

Had Tessitore let the moment speak for itself, things would have been fine fans watching the game already knew McLaughlin was playing in his first game, and a moment like this would have made him a folk hero in the Bay Area for some time.

But instead, Tessitore buried him after the miss, and his criticism failed to land since McLaughlin had already proven earlier in the game that “the moment” – kicking a field goal from 47 yards out with the game hanging in the balance – was not too big for him.

Kickers miss some times, it’s the nature of the business. Similarly, commentators like Tessitore make mistakes from time to time in their broadcasts, it’s the nature of the business.

It’s possible for Tessitore, the moment was too big for him, but we’re willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.


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Dean Nestor

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