Pat McAfee discusses ESPN's coverage of the New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers. Screen grab: ‘The Pat McAfee Show’

Before the game had even ended — or begun, for that matter — ESPN had received plenty of criticism that its coverage of Game 7 between the Knicks and Pacers was too New York-focused.

But while the Worldwide Leader has certainly spent plenty of time talking about the Knicks over the course of the past 24 hours, the network then launched into a full-on Pacers pep rally shortly after 12 p.m. ET on Monday thanks to the presence of The Pat McAfee Show.

Based in Indianapolis, PMS has never been shy about its rooting interests, with McAfee even sitting courtside for Indiana’s Game 4 victory over the Knicks courtesy of Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton. And with Indiana beating New York to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday, the former Colts punter had plenty of material to work with — including some comments directed at the very network his show currently airs on.

“If you were to watch TV, anyone who had a microphone, maybe some makeup on, a large platform — boy, you could see them actually callusing their knees, praying to God that the New York Knicks would take on the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, “McAfee said. “That would be a dream. Holy s**t. Boston-New York in the Eastern Conference Finals?… you could see TV executives and on-air personalities who are from those areas b-b-b-bopping to themselves about the possibility of the playoffs being a wet dream come true.

“On-air personalities, TV, before the game: ‘This is what the Knicks are going to have to do to win this game.’ Halftime, Mike Wilbon: ‘There’s no way the Pacers are going to be able to keep shooting the way’ — THEY DID! Greatest shooting performance in the history of Game 7s in the NBA Playoffs.”

While repeatedly mocking Knicks fans with literal fake cries regarding the team’s injuries, McAfee proceeded to poke fun at the ESPN broadcast’s somber reaction to Jalen Brunson’s in-game injury.

“There was a time actually where they announced Jalen Bruson’s hand was broke where it seemed like Doris Burke didn’t even talk. Devastation hit the booth. Devastation hit the TV,” he said. “Could you imagine if this Knicks team, who was hurt — wahh! wahh! — so hurt, had to play this Boston Celtics team?”

While McAfee’s comments could be chalked up to playful trash talk, it’s unlikely that Wilbon, Burke or whichever unnamed makeup-wearing TV personality he was referencing (hmm) will find his comments very funny. Still, it’s long been established that the former All-Pro punter plays by a different set of rules at ESPN, as by licensing his show to the network, he simply has more leverage than any other talent at the network (which he hasn’t been shy to use).

From a ratings standpoint, ESPN executives likely would have preferred to see a Knicks win on Sunday, but having McAfee’s team still alive isn’t a bad consolation prize. And now that the Pacers have vanquished the Knicks, perhaps we’ll see their Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Celtics lead to a reignition of McAfee’s previous feud with notorious Boston homer Bill Simmons.

[The Pat McAfee Show]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.