Rece Davis, Pat McAfee and Lee Corso talk on set. Rece Davis, Pat McAfee and Lee Corso talk on set. Credit: Tuscaloosa News

Pat McAfee’s rapid ascent to the top of the sports media world has come with a lot of positives. But it’s also come with a lot of scrutiny, some of which has perhaps caught the former Indianapolis Colts punter off guard.

Along with the lucrative deal he signed with ESPN to bring his weekday show to their network, McAfee has also become a mainstay of College GameDay this season, settling into a role that he could easily continue doing for the foreseeable future.

However, that’s apparently still up in the air with the revelation that McAfee has yet to re-sign for next season on the Saturday pre-game show. The boisterous on-air personality admitted that in his response to a recent survey conducted by The Athletic that showed almost half of respondents didn’t like McAfee or his presence on the show.

It was the latest in a series of reactions and criticisms that have been lobbed in McAfee’s direction since he came on full-time with ESPN. He drew the ire of Washington State fans a few weeks back with some pointed barbs in their direction over getting left out of the latest conference realignment shuffle. He’s garnered criticism for the revelation that he pays Aaron Rodgers to come on his show to spout misinformation and referred to a reporter as a “rat” for sharing that information. He’s bristled at criticism over tone-deaf comments he’s made and the timing of his deal while many others were laid off.

All of that said, several of his co-workers at ESPN have come to his defense over recent criticism.

ESPN reporter Jen Lada, who works on College GameDay, offered plenty of positive thoughts about McAfee on X.

“McAfee doesn’t need my endorsement AT ALL but he has made ‘CGD’ better & invigorated our team,” Lada wrote Monday. “His fearlessness dares us to question formula & take chances. TO GROW. A supremely smart/talented entertainer & positive teammate who respects the sport, the show & its hardworking people.”

Kirk Herbstreit, McAfee’s co-host on GameDay, echoed that sentiment.

And then Desmond Howard did the same.

When an X user responded by saying that he was disappointed that McAfee replaced former GameDay analyst David Pollack, Lada responded by saying that both Pollack and McAfee are worthy of appreciation.

“DP is one of my favorite humans on this planet,” wrote Lada “And I can assure you your last statement is false.”

It wasn’t just GameDay co-workers adding their positive thoughts about McAfee. Dan Orlovsky shared his support for Lada’s post as well.

Wherever you stand on McAfee, there’s no denying that he appeals to a wide audience, even if you’re not it. And anyone who has been there live for College GameDay can tell you that the crowd absolutely loves him and he makes sure they know how much he loves them. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and he’s certainly got some growing to do, but ESPN is betting he’s what they need moving forward.

[New York Post]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to