Some NFL news was broken in perhaps the most unusual way yet Thursday morning, with 29-year-old Colts’ punter Pat McAfee announcing his retirement on Barstool Sports’ live-from-Houston “Barstool Rundown” show on Comedy Central at midnight Eastern.
McAfee is leaving millions of dollars from his NFL contract on the table with this move, and he’s joining the Barstool team. Here’s the first clip of him announcing his retirement, first with Colts’ kicker Adam Vinateri asking “Who’s going to hold my balls for me?”:
Here’s a later part where he talks about joining Barstool Sports:
That’s quite the clip, with McAfee saying “I’m joining the most powerful force in entertainment and media, and I can’t wait to be a full-time staff member of Bar…Barstool Sports.” Barstool’s Kevin Clancy (KFC) then asks him “Are you aware of just how bad of a f**ked-up deal this is for you, leaving a million-dollar career in sports to come blog for this stupid-ass website?” and McAfee responds with a bunch of “Yep!” replies.
While that may seem like a comedy sketch, it’s apparently quite serious. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted it as so:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 2, 2017
As did the Colts:
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) February 2, 2017
And McAfee himself tweeted a long and thoughtful goodbye letter to the fans, one looking back at his 2010 arrest for public intoxication after swimming in a canal and the support he got from fans afterwards.
Dear Indiana, pic.twitter.com/FJISS001J3
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 2, 2017
(If you expand those images, it also talks about how Barstool initially asked McAfee to move to New York, but then offered him a radio and TV studio in Indianapolis.)
This comes just days after McAfee was annoyed that he was selected to the coaches’ and players’ All-Pro teams, but passed over in favor of Rams’ punter Johnny Hekker for “the media” team (presumably the AP one), leading him to go on a rant about taking over the “bum ass media”:
I'll never be a coach…I'll never be a scout..but your god damn right I'm going to take over the bum ass media that's in sports right now
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) January 26, 2017
From a football perspective, this is quite surprising. McAfee was playing at a very high level, earning two All-Pro nods this year, and at just 29, he seemed to have plenty of years left. As Colts.com’s Kevin Bowen noted, McAfee is leaving with two years left on his contract as well; Spotrac has those as worth $5.5 million, so he’s leaving a fair bit of money on the table here. However, as McAfee mentioned in his note, he was facing his third knee surgery in four years, so there is some logic to him getting out now.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Barstool uses McAfee. He certainly has an engaging personality and has proven to be a hit with many fans, and he’s had some great stories, including this one about how he turned a borrowed $100 into $1400 of poker winnings into a kicking scholarship at West Virginia. He’s also already done a comedy special. Will that translate into consistent radio and video success, and will Barstool find continued value in an Indianapolis outpost? We’ll see. But they certainly made a big splash with this one and got people talking about their show, and McAfee certainly made a grand exit. Looks like he’ll get a chance to take over at least part of that “bum ass media” sooner than many thought.
(Also, that “bum ass media” has committed another sourcing controversy; ESPN’s ticker said McAfee “announced his retirement on Twitter” rather than on Barstool’s show:
— Paul Mayne (@darealPaulMayne) February 2, 2017
Yeah, Barstool’s not going to be thrilled about that.)