We’ve heard games called by Troy Aikman and Joe Buck forever. But they sounded a bit different in the booth Monday night for Seahawks vs Broncos.
After all, these two announcers made their Monday Night Football debut for ESPN Monday night. The football was familiar. So was the venue. But for so many Sundays, Aikman-Buck worked as the top announcer duo for Fox’s NFL game coverage.
ESPN touted their new team an hour before the Seahawks played host to the Broncos.
Back in February, Aikman became one of the biggest signings of the free agency season. And Aikman hasn’t been a quarterback in the league since 2001. But he switched networks, going from Fox to ESPN for a package worth a reported $90 million for five years.
Then days later, Buck also left Fox. He and Aikman had partnered there for 20 years, calling the network’s biggest games. The two are friends and have easy chemistry. Buck calls the plays, then Aikman offers the analysis. He always describes the game action from the viewpoint of an NFL Hall of Famer. And like Aikman, Buck’s contract also was substantial. He’s making $15 million a year.
Football fans tuning into the Broncos-Seahawks were a bit taken aback by the change in announcers. Monday Night Football has been a big event in pop culture since the early 1970s. You switch the folks in the broadcast booth and fans have opinions.
While Aikman and Buck talked about new Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson’s return to play the Seahawks, his old team, others discussed the broadcasters.
Rodger Sherman, who works for The Ringer, tweeted: “How do I explain to a normal person why it feels so weird that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are doing Monday Night Football instead of the FOX Sunday afternoon game.”
Sherman continued with the imaginary dialogue he was having with fans:
“So these are new announcers?” “No, they just usually announce a different game” “Oh, like they used to do college football?” “No… they’ve always done NFL… just on a different channel” “So do the different channels broadcast the games differently?” “I mean… not really…”
A fan answered: “It’s like when a sitcom gets canceled on one network and picked up on a different one.”
Another observer wrote: “Joe Buck and Troy Aikman on espn feels so weird. Like seeing your English teacher at target during summer break.”
Then there was comments about Aikman and his old team, the Dallas Cowboys. “It feels weird seeing Joe Buck and Troy Aikman not attached to whatever game the Dallas Cowboys are playing on FOX.”
Jimmy Traina, who writes about media for Sports Illustrated, also offered an interesting analysis: “Good, bad. Like them, don’t like them. One thing can’t be denied: Joe Buck/Troy Aikman = big-game feel. That alone gives ESPN a win they haven’t had in a long time.”