Aaron Rodgers has turned ‘Pat McAfee Show’ into an $85 million ESPN disaster
The Pat McAfee Show on ESPN is a disaster.
ESPN has spent years and years trying to disassociate itself from purely political and non-sports topics.
There were memos and suspensions, all trying to keep the focus on sports.
The network even updated its company mantra.
The current slogan adopted by the network, which once deemed itself, The Worldwide Leader in Sports, is, Serving Sports Fans. Anytime. Anywhere.
On Tuesday, while the NFL world was shocked by the firing of Titans coach Mike Vrabel, ESPN had Aaron Rodgers on the air for an hour, going over his feud with Jimmy Kimmel, reviewing his feelings on Dr. Anthony Fauci and COVID-19, criticizing the ESPN executive in charge of the McAfee show, mentioning the ESPN executive whom McAfee called a rat and swearing.
Yeah, its probably a good thing that ESPN retired that Worldwide Leader in Sports moniker.
In actuality, McAfee is supposed to serve younger sports fans.
He was brought in because he is one of the hottest commodities in the media.
Hes talented, but hes a lot.
4Aaron Rodgers (c.) with Pat McAfee (l.) and AJ Hawk (r.) during “The Pat McAfee Show” on Jan. 9, 2024. ESPNHe appears to be very loyal to those close to him, but there is not much evidence yet that he wants to be a good teammate at ESPN.
In his desire to never change and to be true to himself, he is completely throwing Disney CEO Bob Iger, ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro, and ESPN president of content Burke Magnus under the bus. Iger, Pitaro, and Magnus already handed McAfee the keys to back over them.
McAfee has a five-year contract for in excess of $85 million, which allowed him to keep ownership of his program and license it to ESPN.
It gives McAfee all the power in the relationship.
ESPN pays him, but he is not an employee. McAfee is not dumb.
The Rodgers segments have devolved into a middle-school lunchroom fight.
To review: Rodgers was mad because ABCs Kimmel made fun of him regarding Rodgers anti-COVID-19 vaccine stance so Rodgers retorted that Kimmel doesnt want Jeffrey Epsteins list to come out.
4McAfee watches an NFL football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024, in Indianapolis. APThen I wrote a column about McAfees ratings on TV being poor so far, which caused McAfee to call the executive directly under Pitaro and Magnus, Norby Williamson, a rat, somehow reasoning he was the only one in the world with the ratings information.
ESPN put out a statement this weekend, saying everything would be handled internally.
On Monday afternoon, McAfee immediately talked about it on air, saying he would not do anything differently. Monday night, Kimmel had a long rant about Rodgers on his ABC show.
And finally, on Tuesday, Rodgers went on and on about his theories on COVID and Epstein and the media and Kimmel, while taking a shot at the ESPN executive who caretakes the McAfee show, Mike Foss.
4ESPN’s Pat McAfee at the CFP championship game on Jan. 8, 2024. Getty ImagesFoss had said that Rodgers comments about Kimmel were dumb and factually inaccurate so Rodgers, of course, had to respond.
You get all that? Hey, is that the bell for fifth period?
There are so many issues for ESPN to fix on a show that is in the fifth month with only 55 more scheduled to go (Ill continue to take the Under it makes it that far).
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Check out more newslettersDespite the fact that ESPN presented a press release tabulating McAfee numbers by rolling a whole bunch of apples and oranges into one, the show is still losing nearly half of Stephen A. Smiths First Take lead-in audience each day on TV, though, there has been a slight uptick of late.
While McAfee may be the only one able to fix it, he doesnt seem to be in any rush to do so.
He has repeatedly praised Iger, Pitaro, and Magnus.
And who wouldnt like a trio that handed you a check for more than $85 million?
The relationship has been cultivated for years, starting with McAfees first run on College GameDay.
ESPN executives had their eyes wide open about the McAfee move, but it needs to rate better. The mistake may be that ESPN has put the internet on TV, including Rodgers and all his theories.
McAfee did talk about Vrabel around Rodgers appearance.
To be fair, if Rodgers were not on, McAfee probably would have done a pretty good job with the big NFL news.
But the meat-and-potatoes ESPN watcher might want a show that is more understandable and structured.
One of the jobs of any network or platform is for viewers to know what they are getting.
4Aaron Rodgers speaking with reporters at the Jets practice facility on Jan. 8, 2024. Bill Kostroun for the NY PostAt the moment, ESPN should be celebrating that Pitaro and Magnus went on a rights run that has positioned it very well for the future, both long term and in the near term.
The ratings success of college footballs semifinals and championships and two NFL upcoming playoff games should be the only statements coming out of PR. This should be ESPNs focus.
They should be serving sports fans, not dysfunction.
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