Tony Kornheiser said on the rare occasion he stayed up to watch an entire ''Monday Night Football" game he'd call his friends and say, ''I made it, I made it through the whole game!"
''I admit, I live like a barnyard animal," he said yesterday when ESPN announced he will be part of the three-man MNF crew. ''I go to bed at 9:30 and wake up around 5 in the morning."'
But that will have to change, at least one night a week, starting next season.
ESPN, which is taking over the Monday broadcast, will have the same name and the same music that viewers have come to know over the past 36 years. But the crew in the booth will be drastically different.
Play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico will be joined by Joe Theismann and Kornheiser as analysts. Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya will be the sideline reporters.
ABC's main commentator, Al Michaels, wouldn't comment last week on his future, but is expected to join his former partner John Madden on the NBC Sunday night game.
''I'm still in denial that I have this job," said Kornheiser, who tried out for the sidekick job on ABC in 2000 when it was given to Dennis Miller, the last time the show had a three-man booth. ''The thing I'm most worried about is traveling to games. I hate flying, and staying up for the whole game."
ESPN has made some concessions, though.