Okay so the worst-kept secret in sports is almost official – Troy Aikman and Joe Buck are leaving FOX for ESPN and Monday Night Football.
The long-time NFL broadcast pairing are heading to the Worldwide Leader in a bid to make MNF great again after some down years in the booth.
After the failed experiments ESPN has clearly decided to go for broke, and weaken huge rival FOX in the process.
MNF announcement imminent
Per the excellent Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, the signings could be announced as early as Tuesday, and the contracts – both five years in length – are huge.
- Aikman will get $95million over five years, surpassing another former Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo as the highest-paid broadcaster in sports.
- Buck meanwhile will get $65million over five years – not bad compensation for giving up on his other love, broadcasting baseball on FOX during the playoffs.
As McCarthy rightly points out, this is the highest profile team MNF has put out since the days of Howard Cosell, Frank Gifford and Don Meredith. And that was way back in the 1970s.
MNF back where it belongs
So at least Monday Night Football gets the pairing it deserves, returning some of the lustre to what once was THE MUST-WATCH SHOW in all of sports.
In recent years MNF has become something of a second best to Sunday Night Football, but there could be change in that booth as well with long-time play-by-play man Al Michaels also appearing to be on the move.
News of Aikman’s signing with ESPN is a blow for Amazon Prime, which had hoped to lure the Hall of Fame QB onto its Thursday Night Football broadcasts from 2022. It has sole rights to those games now.
One man who will now be a huge target for FOX and Amazon Prime is former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who retired after the 2021 NFL season.
While Payton is expected to return to the sideline at some stage in the near future (Cowboys, anyone?), it appears likely he’ll become a broadcaster until then.