Pat McAfee takes a bite to eat at the ESPN College GameDay stage Pat McAfee takes a bite to eat at the ESPN College GameDay stage outside of Ayres Hall on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. The flagship ESPN college football pregame show returned for the tenth time to Knoxville as the No. 12 Vols hosted the No. 22 Gators. Kns Espn College Gameday

While Pat McAfee announced that he is bringing his popular show to ESPN last week, he’s already pretty familiar with the way things work over there thanks to his position as an analyst on College GameDay.

Before he joined the studio full-time last season, McAfee did some guest stints in the years prior. And after one particular appearance, he learned just how far the reach of a show goes thanks to a message from then-President Barack Obama.

“So, in 2019 before COVID, I got to do a few [GameDay shows] because Adam Vinatieri was supposed to do it in South Dakota State, but he was not available,” McAfee said on this week’s SI Media With Jimmy Traina. “They sent me over there, I cut a couple promos, had a good time. They invited me back to the next few, and then COVID happened, and I was kind of going in from my studio, kind of dropping in, dropping out.

“And one of the times, I forget what it was, I was live from my studio, they were on location. I did something and I got a message from somebody that was working in President Obama’s office. So he has an office in Chicago and the message was ‘President Obama wanted me to let you know that he enjoyed what you just did on College GameDay,’ or something like that. And I was like, ‘Oh ****.’ Like, O.K., so President Obama’s not watching my YouTube show. You know what I mean?

“So like it was in 2020, I think, when I realized like, hey, this is a completely different animal and it is an institution, and the people that have worked there have been there basically since it started. I mean, there’s a lot of history in that room whenever I go in there. And they were all incredibly kind to me. And I’m very, very grateful for that. And lucky to be part of it.”

As for what it meant to get a personal message from the President of the United States, McAfee said it was a real gut-check moment for where he was in his career.

“Yeah, it was wild. I literally read it and was like, ‘This is a joke.’ I said, ‘This isn’t real.’ And then I had to get it checked by somebody else. I’m like, ‘Yeah, President Obama has no idea. I exist on YouTube. So, yeah, GameDays a littttttttle bit different. I think GameDay’s a litttttttle bit different.”

No wonder he re-upped to be back on GameDay again this season.

[SI Media With Jimmy Traina]

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