Two of the top football analysts over the last few decades will both be calling games in new places this fall.
Troy Aikman moved from Fox to ESPN, where he’ll call Monday Night Football alongside his longtime partner Joe Buck. ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, meanwhile, adds Amazon NFL duties on Thursday nights to his already-full college schedule at ESPN.
Aikman obviously spent a few years pulling double-duty as well, going from Thursday night NFL action to calling the top Fox game on Sunday afternoon.
During a media conference call on Wednesday, Aikman offered a bit of insight as to just how tough a job Herbstreit will have this fall. Aikman mixed that in with plenty of praise for his (new) colleague, too:
I’ve talked to Kirk. I consider Kirk a friend. We visited through the process. We talked after he got the Amazon job.
Having been on that schedule, as Joe touched on a little bit earlier, we’re doing a Sunday/Thursday. He is doing a Thursday/Saturday. I guess the good thing for Amazon is they get a fresh Kirk Herbstreit on Thursday.
For “Game Day” and the game, it will be a lot. It’s a lot, but he is a real pro. Anyone who has been around him knows that. I mean, he is relentless in his preparation, which is the only way you can tackle this.
Aikman noted that Herbstreit has a noted ability to put in the hours, while also rightly admitting that fans and viewers don’t care if you’re tired:
I know he has been busy already. I think he has a podcast. I know he has done radio. He is doing already “Game Day,” and sometimes “Game Day” is not where the actual game is that he is calling. It is a lot.
I don’t envy him. I will say that. Because for the last four years the schedule that we’ve kept, it’s grueling. Nobody cares. The viewers at home don’t care, nor should they, but I don’t know that anyone — I don’t even know that people in the industry realize how much preparation goes into broadcasting a one football game during the week, let alone trying to double up with two games in one week.
Buck jumped in to offer his own perspective while also piling further praise onto Herbie:
He is one of those guys that I think could do anything in this business. He could do play-by-play, I believe. He is that talented.
Yeah, like Troy said, it’s a lot, and football, you know, for the analysts, and this would be Troy’s rebuttal to me — the analyst has a different job, and he is looking at trends and what different players are doing and who is playing well, who is not, and looking at game film and all that stuff. But at the same time, I think if you are a talented broadcaster and there’s no more talented broadcaster than either the guy on this screen that I’m looking at or Kirk, they can handle it. He will be okay. He will be tired, but he will be okay.
(Side note: “He will be tired, but he will be okay” is how I’d like to start being described.)
Clearly, there are few people better-equipped to offer advice on calling two big games on a short turnaround, even if Buck and Aikman never split their duties between college and the pros.
But both Aikman and Buck seem pretty confident that Herbstreit will be just fine, and until proven otherwise, there’s no reason to doubt it.