ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader this week was so uneventful they decided to treat the audience to 30 seconds of Harry Styles.
After Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw his first of three second-half interceptions against the Philadelphia Eagles, play-by-play voice Joe Buck set the ESPN on ABC broadcast up for a commercial break.
ESPN tried to improve a bad slate of MNF games with 30 seconds of Harry Styles pic.twitter.com/SMHxig8lhr
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) September 20, 2022
“Last week, the Lions were 4-for-4 in the red zone scoring touchdowns, tonight the Vikings 1-for-1 prior to this,” Buck said as ESPN began playing Harry Styles outro music. “A red zone takeaway,” Buck added to sum up the play as the commercial break loomed.
With Styles’ As It Was blaring in the background, the screen flipped from an ESPN MNF graphic to Troy Aikman’s telestrator screen, prompting the analyst to break down the interception. For nearly 30 seconds, Aikman competed with Styles as he attempted to explain why wide receiver Justin Jefferson deserved blame for Cousins’ pick. The analysis was relished by social media, prompting many on Twitter to blame Jefferson for the interception while briefly taking a break from mocking Cousins’ tendency for prime-time meltdowns.
But Aikman couldn’t have been pleased with having to talk over Styles. Was the prized Monday Night Football analyst supposed to break down the play in that moment? Was the broadcast supposed to be 30 seconds into their commercial break? Or was ESPN just doing the audience a favor by increasing the entertainment value of a bad Monday Night Football game with a popular musical performer.
The blunder came just three weeks after Aikman went on The Adam Schefter Podcast and praised ESPN’s buttoned-up professionalism while referring to his former employer, Fox as a “mom-and-pop type operation.”
Buck and Aikman join ESPN with established chemistry thanks to working the previous 20 NFL seasons together. But their chemistry with a new team of producers and ESPN’s different way of doing things will still require an adjustment period, especially coming from what is apparently a “mom-and-pop type” production over at Fox.