Pat McAfee is always ready to dish out criticism and hot takes on his popular talk show, but he’s recently had to dodge some barbs of his own. The punter-turned-podcaster who struck it rich by signing a new deal with ESPN last year is finding out that life with ‘The Worldwide Leader’ is a whole new ballgame.
And now… he’s answering online opinions that say he’s a bad fit as a part of the network’s College Gameday coverage.
The Athletic recently conducted a poll of over 3,000 readers regarding their viewing habits, as well as their likes and dislikes. It revealed – somewhat surprisingly – that many don’t like McAfee’s work on ESPN’s college football coverage.
According to the survey, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit are the two most popular announcers in NCAA football today, while Pat McAfee came up a little bit short in the informal popularity contest. The Athletic readers actually dislike his college commentary, at least for the most part. 48 percent of those polled said they don’t like his presence on the show, compared to just 30.1 percent who say they like him.
To his credit, Mcafee isn’t hiding from the criticism. Instead, he’s taken it as an opportunity to not only address the situation but to even discuss his future with Gameday going forward. Based on his response, it was clear the former Indianapolis Colts punter was already aware of the negativity surrounding his efforts.
On Sunday, Pat McAfee went on X to respond to the survey and reveal that he hasn’t signed a contract to come back to GameDay. He says his decision to return – at least in some part – will factor in the backlash he’s received.
“This has been brought to my attention more than a few times over the last few days,” McAfee posted. “I’ve never been friends with a human that reads The Athletic, so I’m not 100% sure what style of human these 3,100 folks are but… HUGE Shahtaht to the 30%.. hell yeah.”
“To the 49%, I have some great news… I have heard you all very loud and clear since the beginning of my stint with Gameday. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I have not resigned a contract with the legendary show. I’m not right for some crowds and the ‘distinguished’ College Football folks are definitely one of those.”
ESPN didn’t comment on the matter, and it’s believed that they expect McAfee to return to the program in 2024.
Pat McAfee was selected in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and played eight seasons in the NFL before retiring in 2017. During the course of his career, he was a two-time Pro Bowler and was voted All-Pro on one occasion.
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