NFL Fans React To Hearing Joe Buck and Troy Aikman Calling Monday Night Football

by Nick Geddes

ESPN‘s “Monday Night Football” experienced a rebirth during the Week 1 telecast of the Seattle Seahawks’ 17-16 victory over the Denver Broncos.

But it had nothing to do with what happened on the field.

Rather it had everything to do with what was going on in the broadcast booth. What fans were hearing as the two teams battled for the victory. Monday night was the debut for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who both departed from Fox after 20-plus years to join “The Mothership.” Fans watching found it mind-numbing to hear the iconic duo together on ESPN airwaves.

For others, it was surreal to hear them calling an NFL night game after two decades of coming on the air at 4:25 p.m. ET for America’s Game of the Week.

Their performance was lauded by some fans who were longing for “Monday Night Football” to feel big again.

Joe Buck, Troy Aikman Begin New Era for ‘Monday Night Football’

Aikman, the former Cowboys quarterback, signed a five-year, $92.5 million deal with ESPN. Aikman’s $18.5 million annual earnings make him the highest-paid on-air talent at the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” He surpassed “First Take” analyst Stephen A. Smith, who makes $12 million a year. Aikman has described his exit from Fox as “perplexing.”

“I never had a conversation with [Fox Sports CEO] Eric Shanks until he called to congratulate me on the ESPN contract,” Aikman said. “I asked him specifically for some comments that I had heard that circulated and got back to me and he refused to answer those questions. Joe had asked him the same questions as to ‘How did we get here?’ And he refused to answer those questions as well.”

Buck, meanwhile, jumped ship for “Monday Night Football” after inking a five-year, $75 million deal. For him, it was about maintaining continuity in the booth at this point in his career.

“At this point, I wanted a known quantity next to me,” Buck said. “I think this business is more intense. As I’m coming up on 30 years in it, it’s more intense now than it’s ever been. With the amount of scrutiny that’s out there, I felt like we have a good thing. I know where he’s going. He knows where I’m going. If it was at all possible, I wanted to try to continue that.

“I don’t care about — we’re one year shy of tying [John] Madden and [Pat] Summerall — and all that. It’s just about two guys who enjoy working with each other and feel comfortable. That’s this business.”