One of the NFL’s most recognizable analysts is likely to be on the move.
According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Troy Aikman, who has called NFL games for FOX with Joe Buck for 19 years, has been lured to join ESPN’s NFL broadcasting crew for a deal reportedly worth more than fellow former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s current $17.5 million/year deal at CBS. Aikman and Buck had the second-longest tenure of any broadcasting pair in NFL history, behind the late Pat Summerall and the late John Madden.
ESPN currently broadcasts 18 games per season, but that number will increase to 25 in the coming years (including joining the Super Bowl rotation), meaning they could be in the market for more big-name broadcasters beyond Aikman. Former Seahawks TE Greg Olsen is currently the No. 2 analyst for FOX, and he could succeed Aikman in the No. 1 spot alongside Buck. FOX will need to fill this position with a capable candidate soon, as they will broadcast the Super Bowl twice in the next three years.
The current ESPN crew consists of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick. It’s unknown if Levy will remain the play-by-play voice and the futures of Griese and Riddick are obviously up in the air.
Personally, I am all for the move. FOX and CBS have a wealth of talented announcers thanks to owning the lion’s share of NFL broadcasts, meaning they’ll have no problem replacing Aikman, while ESPN has struggled to put A-grade talent on Monday Night Football recently. Aikman’s arrival doesn’t carry the same weight as, say, Romo’s might, but he’ll still be a very good analyst to add to the crew on MNF, and will hopefully improve ESPN’s broadcasts for years to come.