Some of the XFL 2020’s most memorable moments came from candid moments with sideline reporters. From Matt McGloin roasting his coaches after a rough half, to heated, defeated, and bleep-ed out interviews in the middle of the action, these journalists delivered a lot of classic sound bytes in the 2020 season.
Pat McAfee, everyone’s favorite punter joined these ranks alongside Cameron Jordan, Molly McGrath, and many more who livened up broadcasts by giving fans unprecedented access to the inner workings of the game.
However, this was not the job he was initially brought in for. When Pat McAfee signed up to cover the XFL, he was meant to cover games from the booth. He was announced as a broadcaster alongside Dianna Russini, Greg McElroy, Steve Levy, Tom Hart, Joey Galloway, and Tom Luginbill.
McAfee had previously called games for the Big-12 and the NFL and was a color analyst for Thursday Night Football. However, just before the 2020 season started, he was reassigned as a sideline reporter. This came as a surprise as he brought experience in the booth, a growing following as a commentator, and appeared to be a great fit for the XFL’s startup brand.
In his own words, he was not interested in the new role and only covered one game out of a sense of obligation. Sideline reporting is a very specific role in broadcasting, and though he was familiar with the ebbs and flows of sidelines from his career with the Colts and had covered the 2019 FCS Championship from LSU’s sideline, felt he had been “bamboozled” by the switch and uncomfortable in his new job.
“People go to school for a long time to be good sideline reporters because there’s certain information, timing, you have to remember all these certain things, and this ain’t for me”
Perhaps if he had knowingly signed up for that role and had been able to prep for it all offseason things could have worked out, but the last-minute change-up clearly didn’t go over well with McAfee.
He does remain an interested supporter of the league and has covered major news of the league’s operation, shutdown, sale, and now potential CFL merger on the Pat McAfee Show. He’s said outright the league’s 2001 run should be viewed as a success, has praised Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia‘s leadership, and is clearly excited for the future of the XFL.
So as an open message to the XFL’s ownership, let’s put McAfee in the booth next time around. And if you really want to keep the folks entertained, throw Bill Burr in there too. It’s what the people want.
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