Pat McAfee announced that he will be taking time off from his responsibilities as WWE Smackdown commentator in order to join the ESPN College Game Day show full-time. During his Pat McAfee show podcast earlier today, McAfee noted that he has signed on to do the show, which focuses on college football, for this and next season, presumably with options to renew at the end of the two years.
As a result of the new job, McAfee will be vacating the commentary desk on Smackdown, where he has sat since April 2021 along with broadcast partner Michael Cole.
On his Pat McAfee Show podcast earlier today, McAfee noted that he spoke with WWE before accepting the deal in order to get their blessing.
“In order for the decision to be a firm yes from me, I wanted to talk with the people from WWE,” he said. “I hold my role as a Smackdown commentator as high as anything else that I do. Because not only is it a dream for me since I was a little kid, but there’s other little kids out there that are hopefully getting their imagination and their goals and dreams created, just like I was when I was a kid watching WWE.”
McAfee noted that he thought about doing both shows, but that WWE expressed concerns that McAfee traveling back and forth to do the shows would be too taxing on his health and well-being.
“The original thought for me was that I could do Smackdown and Game Day, I could do both. The folks at WWE – who I have nothing but love, respect, and appreciation for – I’m talking old regime, new regime, whoever you think is in charge over there, I have nothing but great feelings towards.”
“So I reach out to them, I chit-chat with them. They were the ones that actually said, ‘Hey, man, if you’re going to do Game Day, which is a great opportunity, congratulations… you cannot be traveling overnight for the entire season. It’s not good for your health, it’s not good for your family, it’s not good for anything. Whenever the time is right, we will have you, you’ll definitely be back in our family.”
McAfee added that as part of the WWE family, he still may do things for the company during the football seasons, suggesting he may be making appearances from time to time, although not on commentary.
WWE’s head of Creative Content, Paul “Triple H” Levesque tweeted out his congratulations to McAfee following the announcement.
.@PatMcAfeeShow approached us about his amazing opportunity with College GameDay. We’d never stand in Pat’s way, as he continues to architect his exceptional career.
— Triple H (@TripleH) September 7, 2022
The company hasn’t yet revealed who will be replacing McAfee behind the commentary desk on Friday nights. Stay tuned to Slam Wrestling for any updates.
Top photo: Pat McAfee at the WWE commentary desk. Photo: WWE.com