WWE Commentator Pat McAfee Explains Why He's Not Doing SmackDown And College GameDay At The Same Time

Pat McAfee in the WWE
(Image credit: WWE)

Pat McAfee has been an absolute gem of a pickup for the WWE, both as a commentator and occasional in-ring talent. With that in mind, this latest news might be concerning to some who assumed that McAfee's multi-year contract extension would secure him a spot within the company for the long haul. McAfee just accepted a new role that will make him a full-time member of the iconic sports program College GameDay. Unfortunately, the Saturday commitment will take McAfee away from commentating SmackDown, and the commentator recently explained why he’s not doing both at the same time. 

Details on Pat McAfee’s new gig came to light during The Pat McAfee Show, where the host tends to address a lot of what’s being said about him in the wrestling world. (McAfee spoken about folks like Cody Rhodes in the past with no problem.) The media personality explained that he'd originally intended to try and make sure he’d be able to do SmackDown on Friday and College GameDay on Saturday. But McAfee illustrated the complications of such a feat but detailing the first time he ever hosted both shows in the same week:

I had to talk to the WWE first to see what their thoughts were. I was thinking about maybe doing both..I did it one time. Remember when SmackDown was in Buffalo, and there was a plane that was stuck in the Middle East? And they weren’t able to get back?...Triple H called me and was like, ‘Hey, could you get to Buffalo to do SmackDown? We don’t have anybody, basically.’ I had College Gameday the next day in Memphis. So, Jim Irsay gave me his fucking jet to fly to Buffalo and then to Gameday in Memphis the next morning. I was on two hours of sleep, but it was accomplishable. So, the original thought for me was I can do SmackDown and Gameday. I could do it.

It sounds like Pat McAfee went into the conversation with the WWE with the full intention of at least mentioning he could do both SmackDown and College Gameday if he had to. That’s not completely surprising to hear, considering McAfee is a big fan of the wrestling organization and has become an integral piece of its brand. Of course, he’s also a retired NFL punter, one of several athletes with a passion for wrestling. I can understand he’d want to do both, even if the circumstances of doing both aren’t ideal. 

The SmackDown commentator continued with his story and explained that it was actually the WWE that told him not to attempt to do both. He shared the reaction of the unnamed person he discussed the matter with and explained what his future with the WWE looks like after College GameDay wraps for the season: 

So I reach out to them, and they were the ones that said, ‘Hey man, if you’re going to do Gameday, which is a great opportunity, congratulations…You can not be traveling for the entirety of the season. It’s not good for your health, it’s not good for your family, it’s not good for anything. Whenever the time is right, we will have you definitely be back in our family.’ So, SmackDown will be on hold for a little bit, me commentating, while I do College Gameday. I’m still very much in the WWE family, and as one OG in the WWE family said to me in a message that was very heartfelt said, ‘Hey, now one of our guys is on College Gameday now.’

The WWE has apparently stated that Pat McAfee will be able to keep working with the org whenever he’s able to return, but the question remains as to who will replace him alongside Michael Cole on SmackDown. There’s definitely a possibility that one of the members of Monday Night Raw’s three-man commentary team makes the jump to the show temporarily, though that would break up the chemistry of two of the WWE’s flagship shows. As such, it doesn’t seem like Corey Graves, Kevin Patrick, or Byron Saxton are likely to leave their post for the other show. 

Other options include Jerry Lawler, who is a veteran WWE commentator and has filled in for other WWE commentators months prior. Booker T and John "Bradshaw" Layfield are both also former commentary talents who remain involved with the WWE via pay-per-view preview shows and other events, so they could also step in. We’ll just have to wait and see who's brought in to fill that void and if they can somehow measure up to the amazing dynamic that Michael Cole’s shared with Pat McAfee since they were paired. I guess I’ll be reminiscing on some of their more recent iconic calls of matches using my Peacock premium subscription

SmackDown airs on Fox on Fridays at 8:00 p.m. ET. I wouldn’t count on Pat McAfee being present for a number of upcoming WWE live events, considering pay-per-views typically run on Saturdays now. So we’ll just have to be patient and wait for details on when and where he’ll show up next.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.