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ESPN formally introduces Joe Buck, Troy Aikman as new "MNF" team

Buck and Aikman were given overwhelming support by the ESPN "MNF" production teamESPN

ESPN introduced Joe Buck and Troy Aikman as their new "MNF" booth team in a conference call with reporters yesterday, when the duo "toured the ESPN Bristol, Conn., campus for the first time" since coming aboard, according to Calvin Watkins of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Buck said of the process when Aikman departed Fox, "There were two determined sides to try to make the resolution happen fast once that took place. It literally dropped out of the sky and the more I get around it, Troy and I were just blown away." Buck said that he was "overwhelmed by the support the two were given" by the ESPN "MNF" production team. Aikman said that a "need for a reduced television schedule was another reason why the job at ESPN attracted him." Aikman and Buck were "doing two games a week," Thursday and Sunday afternoon. Aikman said, "It was an opportunity that was just the best fit for me. To be with this property, doing Monday nights, getting a chance to still do playoff games, Super Bowls, and it's ultimately what led me" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/17).

TAKING THAT CHANCE: Buck said of his move to ESPN, "It gets back to kind of a supply and demand and having a known quantity and knowing how much I wanted to go work with Troy and continue that relationship." Buck said that a "tipping point" was a conversation with former Fox Sports President David Hill in which Hill "encouraged him to take a chance." Hill said, "You will be nervous before your first game, and when was the last time you were really nervous before your first game?" Buck said, "I'm proud of the body of work (at Fox). Now let's get somewhere else and start a new chapter" (NEWSDAY, 5/17). Buck said, "My anticipation for the start of the season is literally off the charts. ... I couldn't be happier." Both Buck and Aikman said that there were "no hard feelings on either side in leaving Fox after 27 and 21 years, respectively." Buck said, "It's a challenge with a very bright spotlight on you as you try and figure out your new work environment in front of tens of millions of people on live TV" (USA TODAY, 5/17).

GOAT IN THE BOOTH: In N.Y., Ryan Glasspiegel writes the idea that, after he retires from football, Tom Brady "would replace Aikman at Fox was not at the forefront" of Aikman's mind. Aikman said, "It's not something I thought he'd be doing, but I think he'll be great. ... He'll be fantastic and it was an outstanding hire." Buck said, "I was just as surprised as everyone else, and I'm in this game with the announcer movement." Buck added, "Everybody's shifted and moved places. Amazon's involved. They've got a great team. My dad passed away 20 years ago, and I think he'd be stunned if [he] walked out of the grave right now and he'd say, 'Wow! That's what's going on in this business?" Aikman said for Brady, "It'll be a steep learning curve, and I think he'll be fantastic. I tend to root for everybody. I genuinely feel happy for him. ... He's won at everything he's done in life and there's no reason he won't at this as well. The reason why I think he's going to be good is he's gonna work" (N.Y. POST, 5/17).

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