Jason Kelce on "Whiskey Ginger with Andrew Santino." Screengrab: “Whiskey Ginger with Andrew Santino”

As Jason Kelce embarks on the second half of his professional life, he’s unsure of what he seeks long-term in the absence of his NFL career. But he explained recently on Whiskey Ginger with Andrew Santino that his short-term goal is to ensure he’s prepared and do that at a high level.

Kelce, of course, is referring to his upcoming gig on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown, as he’ll be part of the network’s on-site Monday Night Football coverage. The former Philadelphia Eagles center has unseated Robert Griffin III, alongside Ryan Clark and Marcus Spears, in addition to host Scott Van Pelt.


“A lot of this is talking to people who do it, right? I do a podcast, but this much different,” Kelce told Santino. You’re live and the time segments that you have to be in and out of, or tighter. So there’s less freedom to say and really go into nuanced detail on something like that.”

Santino questioned Kelce’s fear of overtalking, especially considering the freedom of his podcast, where he can riff for as long as he wants.

“That’s the beauty of the podcast,” said Kelce. “You can go into really big detail on complex things and go and give a good synopsis on the entire picture. In the pre-shows and stuff like that, because you’re handcuffed with the time constraints and everybody needs to be able to get in things, you want to be respectful of all of it. So, you’re trying to get in and out of things a little bit quicker.

“I do think the best shows feel like they’re more conversational, and it expands a little bit into that. But it’s still, it’s going to be a little bit more condensed than what a podcast would be.”

Santino pointed to Inside the NBA as a prime example of a successful pregame show. He mentioned the genuine friendships between Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson. In doing so, he argued that viewers appreciate the camaraderie and playful banter between the quartet across the NBA on TNT’s coverage.

He also emphasized a point that many viewers can resonate with. Santino said that audiences are turned off by forced professionalism, especially when a show feels fake when the entertainment and analysis seem completely separate.

“Yeah, it feels so overproduced that it’s like pre-planned and it’s weird,” replied Kelce. “You want those authentic reactions happening out there…Listen, Chuck is the magic, as well as Shaq. But Ernie is the guy that really kind of lets them do what they do and brings it all kind of a structure to it. And I think, obviously, Scott Van Pelt on Monday night, I think he has that same ability to kind that structure. And hopefully, we can be able to be ourselves, and Scott wrangles it back in, as well.”

But Kelce isn’t nervous, though, right?

No, he’s nervous.

“I think it’s good, seriously,” he explained. “Every game I ever played in my life, I played really well, and I was nervous for at least a healthy amount of it. Like not the point that you think you can’t do it, but there’s a healthy amount of respect for your opponent. Whenever I played a really good player, I always felt like I played better because all week, I was really into preparing for this guy. I studied it more. I perseverated about it when I was sleeping. I’m like, ‘If I do this, I need to make sure I do this. Otherwise, he’s gonna take care of that.’

“And when you put more effort into it because of that nervousness, I think it usually results in a better product. Now, once you’re out there, you can’t be nervous; you just gotta go. But I think it’s healthy to be nervous with where I’m at right now. Hopefully, then I prepare more. And usually, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you are when you’re actually out there.”

[Whiskey Ginger with Andrew Santino]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.