Joe Buck following Troy Aikman to ESPN as new 'Monday Night Football' broadcast team

·Writer
·2 min read

As it turns out, Troy Aikman moving to ESPN isn't going to end his longtime partnership with Joe Buck.

The veteran Fox Sports play-by-play man is expected to follow Aikman to ESPN, where he will become the new voice of "Monday Night Football," according to the New York Post's Andrew Marchand.

Buck's wife, ESPN broadcaster Michelle Beisner-Buck, later confirmed the news on Instagram.

Fox reportedly granted Buck permission to talk with ESPN on Friday, and the two sides are expected to reach a deal soon. Buck previously had one year with a salary of $11 million remaining on his contract with Fox, and is now expected to sign a deal in the range of five years and $60 million-$75 million with ESPN. Aikman reportedly landed a five-year, $92.5 million contract.

Buck's move would end an era at Fox, where he was the network's top broadcaster in both football and baseball. He joined Fox in 1994, became its lead baseball voice in 1996 and its lead football voice in 2002.

With both Buck and Aikman gone, Fox will have to find an entirely new booth for its biggest football games, as well as a new play-by-play man for the World Series to work alongside John Smoltz.

Fox Sports' Joe Buck is pictured before an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Joe Buck is headed to ESPN. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

ESPN completes its 'Monday Night Football' overhaul

The additions of Buck and Aikman finally gives ESPN what it has sought for years: a stable "Monday Night Football" booth with name recognition.

You'd have to go back to the days of Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden to find the last time ESPN had an MNF play-by-play man and color commentator work together for more than two years. Since Tirico left, ESPN has cycled through Sean McDonough, Joe Tessitore and Steve Levy at the position, with varying results.

The color position has been even more chaotic since Gruden left for an ultimately doomed return to coaching. ESPN first brought on Jason Witten, who drew poor reviews and abruptly ended his retirement to re-sign with the Cowboys, then tried Booger McFarland as its sole color commentator, to even poorer reviews.

At seemingly every juncture, the network went after Peyton Manning, but was rebuffed until the Hall of Fame quarterback got his own broadcast with his brother, Eli. The resulting Manningcast was unquestionably a win for ESPN, but left ESPN with Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, a pair low on name recognition but with decent reviews.

Now, it appears the network will have Buck and Aikman for years to come. Buck also figures to feature heavily in ESPN's baseball coverage, and Marchand reports he will be involved in producing ESPN+ products as well.