HomeSportsNFLReport Details Troy Aikman Rocky Relationship That Led to ESPN Monday Night Football Shakeup

Report Details Troy Aikman Rocky Relationship That Led to ESPN Monday Night Football Shakeup

by Suzanne Halliburton
trou aikman joe buck
Arturo Holmes/WireImage

ESPN swapped it’s producers for the network’s coverage of college football and Monday Night Football last week, and folks who follow TV news for a living believe Troy Aikman was at least indirectly responsible for the shakeup.

Troy Aikman and his broadcast partner Joe Buck left Fox and joined ESPN to be in the booth for Monday Night Football roughly a year ago. The Worldwide Leader wanted to make MNF appointment TV again by hiring two of the most recognized voices in the game to give their coverage more panache.

The ESPN pro football season was a successful one. Then came the news that dropped last Friday afternoon. ESPN moved its director and producer into other roles involving Saturday Night Football. And ESPN didn’t stop there. The network even swapped the producer and director for the ManningCast, which runs on ESPN2 as part of MNF coverage.

Sports business journalist Andrew Marchand said it wasn’t fair to blame Troy Aikman or Joe Buck for the changes. But Marchand said it was known that Aikman desired a new producer.

“There’s no way these kinds of decisions happen without Joe Buck and Troy Aikman signing off,” said Richard Deitsch of The Athletic on his podcast this week. “I’m not saying Joe Buck and Troy Aikman somehow dislike the people who are leaving. But management would never make this move, particularly with two guys they brought in to reshape their broadcast…They’re not making these moves without those guys signing off and I’m sure those guys signed off on it.”

Troy Aikman Isn’t Like Other MNF Announcers. Here’s Why

Awful Announcing said the Aikman problems started immediately. Remember the telestrator incident during the first Monday Night Football telecast between the Broncos and Seahawks?

“It all started week one,” a contractor on the MNF team told Awful Announcing. “He was dogging the crew and gear on the air when he couldn’t figure his telestrator out. He couldn’t figure it out because he shows up on game day. Didn’t practice. So before halftime, our director had already gotten operations to call someone at Fox, find out exactly what model he used for years prior, and had it shipped in for the next game.”

Troy Aikman doesn’t operate the same way previous MNF announcers have worked. According to Awful Announcing, he doesn’t spend a ton of time with the crew while on site at various cities across the NFL. This cut down on the amount of time Aikman could spend together with the crew planning and practicing.

“Troy travels on his private jet on Monday mornings and flies home after the game,” a source told Awful Announcing. “He could not be further removed from the crew and I would confidently say that he knows maybe 10 people on a crew of like 150+ people.”

Another source added “never came to a camera meeting. No crew outings. Nothing. You’d think someone who is going into a long-term, big-money contract at a new network would come in and try to make it home. Not at all.”

ESPN is hoping that there is plenty of time to allow their NFL coverage team to work flawlessly together. ABC/ESPN next gets the Super Bowl in 2026.