Merril Hoge, laid off by ESPN, resurfaces with interesting new job

Longtime ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge was among those laid off by the company in May, but he’s resurfaced with an interesting new gig.

Your Call Football has hired Hoge as one of its two football coaches, joining former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman.

But it’s not the traditional kind of coaching Hoge and Sherman have signed on for; they are responsible for hiring a coaching staff and finding players, but what happens on the field will be out of their hands.

Former NFL running back and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge has joined Your Call Football, where fans call plays. (AP). (Diane Bondareff/AP Images)
Former NFL running back and ESPN analyst Merril Hoge has joined Your Call Football, where fans call plays. (AP). (Diane Bondareff/AP Images)

A first-of-its-kind idea, YCF is essentially the Madden game brought to life: fans will be completely in control of a live game. Fans who have the YCF app can control what happens on the field, voting in each situation from a selection of plays Hoge or Sherman has chosen as possibilities for his team.

Fans will be able to get points based on their play-calling ability and compete with other fans to prove who is best at literal armchair quarterbacking. And it’s not just bragging rights on the line for fans: they’ll be able to win cash prizes from YCF.

Hoge played in the NFL for eight seasons at running back and was with ESPN for much longer. In a statement released by the company, he expressed his excitement at letting players show off their knowledge.

“YCF truly represents the future of the fan experience, and I’m thrilled to be involved,” he said. “I know from my days on the field and in the analyst studio how much fans want to get in the game and really show how knowledgeable they are. I’m looking forward to seeing them put that knowledge to the test in a real, live environment.”

The YCF app and play-calling system will be available to fans anywhere; you won’t have to be in-stadium to take part. Games will be broadcast live, and will have a maximum length of two hours to appeal to millennials and, well, those who aren’t big fans of long games.

The inaugural games are slated to be played in spring 2018.

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