Pat McAfee Announces He Will Join WWE Friday Night SmackDown as Analyst
Former Indianapolis Colts punter and current sports personality Pat McAfee announced Friday he is joining WWE SmackDown as part of the announce team alongside Michael Cole.
McAfee made the announcement in a video on Twitter. In the video, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon said, “Pat McAfee, you’re hired,” and Cole welcomed him to SmackDown:
Good morning beautiful people… TONIGHT a dream comes true. Thank you all so so much for following along with this dumb ass life I’ve been incredibly fortunate to live.. I’m grateful for it all. 🗣🗣 Let’s enjoy this thing Be a friend, tell a friend #PatsUpToSomethin https://t.co/pRWzIxLBGb
While McAfee is best known for his successful NFL career and his Pat McAfee Show podcast, he has made his presence felt in WWE in recent years.
The 33-year-old McAfee began making WWE appearances in 2018 as part of the NXT TakeOver pre-show panel, and he was part of the pre-show for WrestleMania 35 in 2019 as well.
Last year, McAfee entered into a rivalry with Adam Cole, which led to McAfee making his in-ring debut at NXT TakeOver XXX. McAfee lost the match, but he marveled with his athleticism, and his performance was widely considered one of the best ever in a debut match.
McAfee later teamed with Pete Dunne, Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan against Undisputed Era in a losing effort at NXT TakeOver: WarGames in December.
While McAfee still has a bright future in the ring, he will lend his talent and charisma to the announcing side of things on SmackDown.
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When McAfee is on the call alongside Cole on Friday’s episode of SmackDown beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, it won’t be his first foray into announcing on the blue brand.
On the Nov. 1, 2019, episode of SmackDown, McAfee filled in as an announcer since many of the wrestlers, announcers and personnel scheduled for the show did not make it back in time from Saudi Arabia following Crown Jewel the day before.
McAfee’s addition is part of a significant announcing overhaul by WWE on both Raw and SmackDown.
The new Raw announce team is led by play-by-play man Adnan Virk, who is flanked by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton, while Cole and McAfee will handle announcing duties on SmackDown.
Graves moved from SmackDown to Raw, while former Raw announcer Samoa Joe was released from his contract Thursday and former Raw play-by-play man Tom Phillips has been moved into a different role.