Former NFL punter and current broadcasting superstar Pat McAfee will join ESPN's College GameDay full-time, with his debut set for Saturday (September 10) morning for the touring show's stop in Austin for the Week 2 matchup between No. 1 Alabama and Texas.
"It’s an absolute honor 2 have this tweet tweeted about me," McAfee tweeted late Tuesday (September 6) night in response to Front Office Sports' report of his decision. "GameDay is a show that I’ve been a fan of FOREVER So many moving parts including real cool conversations w/ the fine folks from WWE..all moved quickly Will lead show manana w/ all the deets DUMBEST LIFE OF ALL TIME."
WWE Chief Content Officer Paul 'Triple H' Levesque confirmed McAfee would take an absence from his SmackDown commentary duties during the college football season in order to fill his new role with ESPN, but didn't specify whether he would return full-time after the season.
".@PatMcAfeeShow approached us about his amazing opportunity with College GameDay," Levesque tweeted. "We’d never stand in Pat’s way, as he continues to architect his exceptional career. Pat will remain a member of the @WWE Universe and we look forward to his return. #UpToSomethingSZN."
McAfee also confirmed that his SmackDown commentary role would "be on hold for a little bit" and that "he is still very much a part of the WWE family."
The former punter recently signed a multiyear extension with WWE, the company announced in a news release shared on its official website shared in July.
McAfee has served as SmackDown's color commentator since April 2021 and has had sporadic in-ring appearances, which included making a show-stealing WrestleMania debut in April, as well as a scheduled match against former Indianapolis Colts teammate Happy Corbin at SummerSlam in July.
Last month, McAfee announced his partnership with former Colts teammate Peyton Manning and Omaha Productions to simulcast six college football games for ESPN.
"You invited me to s***, took me in like a teammate and a family man, like, you have done things right forever," McAfee said to Manning. "So for what I'm about to say I'm very honored to be a part of. Peyton Manning and I are getting into business together. We have officially agreed, alongside Omaha Productions, to simulcast six big a** college football games this season.
"We will be on ESPN2. The main cast will be on ESPN. Omaha is obviously helping us along the way and we will be running it. Peyton, you're the f****** man, thank you for the opportunity, thank you for the business, And I think we have to celebrate baby!"
(Viewer discretion is advised for some coarse language)
McAfee and Manning were teammates with the Colts from 2009-11 before the Hall of Fame quarterback signed with the Denver Broncos as a free agent in 2012.
McAfee has publicly shared stories about Manning's hospitality when the two were teammates and Manning has since made multiple appearances on the Pat McAfee Show, while McAfee made an appearance on the Manningcast, a Monday Night Football simulcast starring Peyton and his brother, Eli Manning, last fall.