Leaving ESPN is never easy. But Trey Wingo seems excited about the future. Wingo hasn’t unveiled his entire master strategy, but we now know a little more about his immediate plans.

His approach to his own free agency has been launching his own football-focused podcast called Half-Forgotten History, which will premiere Season 2 on Jan. 21. Last weekend, it was announced that the veteran anchor will be on PGA Tour Live. He’ll call the first two rounds of the Farmers Insurance Open from Torrey Pines on Jan. 28 and 29 which is welcomed news for Wingo and for those who care about high-quality broadcasting. 

“I thought I would always be at ESPN,” Wingo, 57, told Awful Announcing. “But there is a whole other world out there. I am enjoying that part of it. I never thought this would happen, but it has been really fun and enjoyable.”

It’s a new beginning for Wingo, who spent 23 years at ESPN but was let go after his contract was not renewed. That was a shocker, a sobering moment for those who saw Wingo as being synonymous with the network.

A generation grew up with Wingo, from him being one of the faces of the network’s NFL coverage to his voice on ESPN Radio’s morning show with Mike Golic. But all things must come to an end, and Wingo was ready to do something different.

However, there are challenges ahead. 

The Worldwide Leader in Sports is the biggest star-making vehicle in sports media. When you’re on ESPN, you’ve reached the mountaintop. What you say and what you do matters in a way that it’s nearly impossible to replicate on other platforms. So, leaving ESPN is often problematic.

Precious few have left to remain as relevant as they were before. Dan Patrick is among the most prominent ex-ESPN alums, with his own syndicated radio show. Dan Le Batard, who officially broke away earlier this month, is attempting to continue his national presence with former ESPN chief John Skipper

Can Wingo find his own success? He’s off to a promising start.

According to Wingo, his newest gig came as a surprise, but it’s not an unfamiliar role. Wingo had previously hosted ESPN’s telecasts of the U.S. Open and the Open Championship. He hinted that he might do more golf in the future. 

“I got a call out of the blue about a month ago,” Wingo said. “They asked if I was interested in doing a couple of rounds of the Farmers. I said sure. I’m looking forward to that. We’ll talk a little bit more when I get down there.”

As for his podcast, what started as “a lark” has become a passion project. Half-Forgotten History’s first episode of Season 2 will kick off with Eli and Archie Manning. Other episodes will include Ed Reed, Zach Ertz, and Tedy Bruschi. And yes, there will be a Season 3.


People love sports nostalgia, especially when it’s packaged in documentaries like ESPN’s excellent 30 for 30 series or into smaller radio/podcast bites. In Wingo’s Half-Forgotten History, he mines his NFL connections from decades of broadcasting.

“To me, some of the best things I’ve heard never made it to the air,” Wingo said. “It was conversations we had in the green room or when you went out to dinner, sitting at a bar. I think people would really enjoy those stories.”

In Season 1, listeners heard about Emmitt Smith talk about the moment he realized he was truly famous (Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan wanted to hang out with him before Super Bowl XXVIII.). They heard Jeff Saturday reveal additional details of his infamous sideline shouting match with Peyton Manning.

One of the best stories involves Wingo himself. He missed one of the greatest plays in NFL history. It happened at Super Bowl XLII: the undefeated New England Patriots vs. the underdog New York Giants. 

If you’re a member of the media and you want to do an on-field interview, you have to leave the press box before the end of the game. It was a long trip and there were no televisions in the bowels of the University of Phoenix Stadium. This was 2008, a time before you could stream the game on your phone. So Wingo called his ESPN co-worker Mark Schlereth for updates.

Unfortunately for Wingo, Schlereth’s play-by-play skills were lacking, and the former offensive lineman failed to describe the game’s most famous play. By the time Wingo got to the field, he saw Plaxico Burress’ game-winning touchdown. He didn’t know about David Tyree’s helmet catch.

Wingo hustled to interview Burress. However, he was confused. Most of the media was crowded around a lesser-known wide receiver.

“’Why the hell is everyone talking to David Tyree?’” Wingo muttered to himself. “I didn’t find out until 30 minutes later what had happened. I called Mark later and said, ‘You just totaled screwed your best friend. But I still love you.’”


Since Wingo is no longer with ESPN, Super Bowl LV will be the first one he’ll miss in 20 years. There has been speculation that Wingo would like to land at the NFL Network. Wingo declined comment.

For him, there’s life after ESPN, but his former co-workers are often on his mind. 

“I have so many people that are my dear friends who still work there,” Wingo said. “I want nothing but success for those people. I want them to have the career that I had.”

About Michael Grant

Born in Jamaica. Grew up in New York City. Lives in Louisville, Ky. Sports writer. Not related to Ulysses S. Grant, Anthony Grant, Amy Grant or Hugh Grant.