Pat McAfee on The Pat McAfee Show Photo credit: The Pat McAfee Show

The Pat McAfee Show on ESPN looks, feels, and sounds exactly like The Pat McAfee Show, making it look, feel, and sound entirely different from anything else on the network.

Ever since McAfee’s deal with ESPN was announced, it’s been met with endless skepticism over whether the partnership will work, and countless questions about whether the former NFL punter sold out by taking his talents to Disney’s sports network. But after urging his fans to have faith, The Pat McAfee Show finally launched on ESPN Thursday afternoon and to their credit, the program very much stuck to its core.

From noon – 2pm ET, ESPN’s audience watched a simulcast of an internet show. It was “a collection of stooges talking about happenings in the sports world.” It was not filled with the creative camera angles, graphics, bells and whistles we’ve come to expect from a studio show produced by ESPN. The ticker didn’t even fit right on the screen, which they acknowledged after signing off ESPN and McAfee didn’t seem surprised.

“That is something that has been an issue though, in the past, with our ticker,” McAfee admitted, showing little concerned over the mild gaffe.

There were plenty of curses as McAfee and Aaron Rodgers teamed up to test ESPN’s censorship rules by saying “sh*t.” And after months of anticipation, McAfee even dropped his first f-bomb on ESPN. Thankfully, virgin ears were spared by ESPN airing its simulcast of The Pat McAfee Show on delay for the sole purpose of being able to mute f-bombs. That should be good news for Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who begins his second tenure as McAfee’s colleague.

Amazingly, McAfee’s first f-bomb occurred during a newly introduced PTI style corrections segment, which was aptly placed just before the show signs off ESPN. The first two hours of the show air on ESPN, ESPN+, and ESPN’s YouTube channel, while the third hour airs exclusively on ESPN+ and ESPN’s YouTube channel.

Airing live on YouTube in recent years, there was no need for McAfee to worry about commercials. And even though the first two hours of his show now air on ESPN, McAfee still didn’t have to worry about commercials. The show did not change for ESPN, which meant the Worldwide Leader went commercial-free for McAfee, aside from a few minutes at the bottom of the hour. That is a drastic change for ESPN. They might let Stephen A. Smith go late to a commercial break, but even he doesn’t get to skip them for an hour.

McAfee’s vow to keep his show unchanged despite partnering with ESPN held true, at least on day one. Whether ESPN continues to relish having a collection of unfiltered and mostly uncensored “stooges talking about happenings in the sports world” months and years into their partnership remains to be seen.

But one thing McAfee has proven throughout his rise to prominence in sports media is he has no issue picking up the show and moving on from a platform as soon as it no longer feels like the right fit. He left Barstool, CBS Sports Radio, SiriusXM and FanDuel. There’s no reason to think he wouldn’t be willing to pick up and do the same with ESPN if the rest of their partnership doesn’t operate like day one.

[The Pat McAfee Show]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to