Television is such a big part of the NFL culture that when there is a major change in on-air talent it usually is big news.

But ESPN's switch from Joe Theismann to Ron Jaworski on its "Monday Night Football" team didn't seem to generate much reaction. Maybe it's because "MNF" isn't on ABC anymore. But it also could be because ESPN went out of its way to downplay the move.

That's saying something, because ESPN isn't shy about promoting itself. But there certainly was some awkwardness involved when it decided to take Theismann off the air after 19 years and replace him with Jaworski, who has been an analyst with the network since 1990.

"I have a lot of respect for Joe," said Jaworski, who makes his regular season debut Monday with the Baltimore-Cincinnati game. "There's no question it was a little awkward at first. But he's such a classy guy. He understands I don't make the decisions. There's no animosity."

Theismann will do work for ESPN.com and ESPN radio this season, but the network has no plans to use him on television.

"You don't keep that job at such a high level for 19 years unless you're good," Jaworski said. "Joe certainly is a talented guy. I'm just going to go in there and be myself."

Some believe there wasn't good enough chemistry between Theismann and fellow analyst Tony Kornheiser. Jaworski has been a regular on the ESPN show "Pardon the Interruption," which is co-hosted by Kornheiser.

"Everybody wants to know if I can work with Tony," Jaworski said. "It's a moot point. I've worked with Tony in the past and we've been friends for over a decade. It's going to be seamless."

Although Jaworski is new to the booth on ESPN, he has worked preseason games for the Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints. He's also been in the booth for some college games on ABC.

"It's not my first rodeo, but certainly the profile is a lot different," Jaworski said.

Jaworski, a former Eagles quarterback who is part-owner of the Arena Football League's Philadelphia Soul, said he was offered the job by ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson during halftime of a Soul game against the Colorado Crush in March.

"It was totally out of left field. I was blown away," Jaworski said. "I couldn't say yes fast enough. I'm still pinching myself. What an incredible opportunity."

WELCOME BACK: While Jaworski's inclusion on Monday nights is arguably the biggest change in the NFL television culture this season, another new element is Keith Olbermann's presence on NBC's "Football Night in America." Olbermann, the former ESPN anchor who has spent the past six seasons hosting the newscast "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on MSNBC, will narrate highlights of the day's games and discuss issues with the rest of the studio panel. He will continue to do "Countdown."

"(Olbermann) just about invented the way that studio highlight shows were done on cable, and we're lucky enough to debut him this year," NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said.

THE CLICKER: Curt Menefee debuts as host of Fox's "NFL on Sunday" this weekend. Barry Switzer debuts on the network as a studio analyst. ... Former New York Giants star Tiki Barber also makes his debut Sunday as an analyst on "Football Night in America." ... This season marks the 40th anniversary of CBS's NFL pregame show, "The NFL Today." ... Comcast Sports Net West is airing a high school football game every Thursday this season and 20 more games on tape delay. Several local teams are featured on the schedule.

Contact Jonathan Okanes at jokanes@bayareanewsgroup.com.