Be careful what you ax for, ESPN. The network’s decision — because it certainly wasn’t Pat McAfee’s — to terminate Aaron Rodgers’ scheduled diatribes now gives viewers little to no reason to tune into the $86 million program. Seriously, who is pining for McAfee’s armpits, censored frat humor and AJ Hawk’s vacant stare?
That said, one multimillionaire athlete’s loss of paid appearances is another’s gain as McAfee will assuredly return to the pay-to-play well. Obviously, the Rodgers’ bridge is burnt/coming to Truth Social users soon, but there’s no shortage of retired or injure-reserved athletes more than willing to take seven figures to speak — carte blanche, uninterrupted and unchallenged — on McAfee’s steaming circus of sideshow clowns.
So with that, let’s take a look at the candidates.
The GOAT hasn’t shied away from controversy in retirement, and he definitely is on the same wavelength as McAfee’s audience. The only impediments are Brady’s contract with Fox that he has yet to do anything with, and his standing Tuesday appointments with Dr. Botox.
Already employed on the show, perhaps McAfee could entice Hawk to actually speak words, form sentences, and maybe an interview, going forward. The caveat is that would require thinking, which Hawk stopped doing long ago, taking the cigar out of his mouth (not going to happen), and some semblance of a personality.
While Stockton is certainly in the same vein as Rodgers — both of whose veins are decidedly free of any COVID vaccines — the retired Utah Jazz point guard has been cooped up in a shack outside of Spokane since people started yelling at him for spreading misinformation. Maybe they could get his physician, Dr. Mantis Toboggan, to speak about the efficacy of COVID vaccines.
This kind of sophomoric stunt perfectly fits McAfee’s brand. Bring A-A-ron on in drag, make a few heinous trans jokes, and then wait for Norby Williamson to hand deliver the pink slips.
This might be a tough sell for McAfee’s audience, which I’m assuming doesn’t feature a lot of hoops heads. However, once they figure out that Irving has no desire to talk basketball and just wants someone to enable his ego and help extract the muck from the depths of his brain, the two will become fast friends. Just don’t ask Irving about the Israel-Palenstine conflict.
This is the most likely replacement. On a Tuesday show in the not-so-distant future, McAfee will lose his train of thought, put his thinking face on, and sit there, silent, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Sure, ESPN producers are going to yell in his ear, but they will soon discover that McAfee’s relationship with Rodgers was symbiotic, and now that the other half is dead, so are all of Pat’s brain cells — at least the ones that made his show redeeming.
There’s one sure-fire McAfee interviewee that won’t get ESPN dragged: Grimace. The purple McDonald’s blob doesn’t talk, is a fan favorite, and can go toe-to-toe with Hawk in any staring contest. The catch is can McAfee match all that Mickey D’s cash, and would Grimace risk his approval rating by wallowing in the mud with a guy who doesn’t wear sleeves?
Also, if you ever need something to stifle an appetite — something Grimace is ideologically opposed to — it’s McAfee’s pits.
Sorry, I’m running out of material and funny candidates to fill in for Rodgers, so I thought I’d just offer up a name that people enjoy saying.
“Next up on the show, Ford legend Lee Iacocca.”
“Uhh, Pat, he died four years ago.”
Honest question: Would you put it past McAfee’s preeminent showbookers to book deceased talent? Probably not, but at the same time, there’s, what, a three percent chance it happens. And, hey, I don’t piss on your dreams.