For Pat McAfee, the phrase “For The Brand” has transformed his post-football career. The former Colts punter is putting on a masterclass on how to exit the game as he continues to expand his brand that includes a nationally syndicated radio show on Sirius and his own company. You can officially add WWE talent to that growing list of jobs with McAfee recently announcing that he’s joining Michael Cole as a commentator on Smackdown, which airs Fridays on FOX.
This is a major step for McAfee as he continues to cross into the mainstream. Want to know how excited the WWE was about the partnership? The one and only Vince McMahon was in the promo video announcing the move. That’s no small feat and further shows how much heat McAfee has at the moment. We’ll now get to see him grow within the WWE and elevate his profile further.
We recently talked with McAfee about his move to Smackdown, plans in WWE, and much more. Check it out below and stay tuned for the full interview to drop via The Complex Sports Podcast next week.
(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)
How does it feel to be with WWE in an official capacity and on the Smackdown brand?
When WWE had reached back out to me after the Takeover appearances, we didn’t really know what to expect going forward. Like we didn’t have any plans. We had no idea how it was going to go. I was confident that it was gonna go well, but we weren’t really sure. Obviously, I have my show. I have my business, I have employees. I have employees and families that I have to look after and I feel a lot of responsibility and it’s an honor to be able to do that alongside my friends. So, you know, everything schedule-wise has to make sense whenever we’re thinking about any potential business move for me and everything I got going on.
The WWE has always been incredibly nice about that. Now, I don’t know if it’s normal for them to do that. I don’t know if this is what other people would say, but for me, they were like, “Hey, we want to do something. How do we make it work? We want to do something. How can we make it work?” And it wasn’t until very late in the game that becoming the SmackDown commentator was actually what we landed upon and the ability to get on SmackDown, work with Michael Cole, and potentially work with Vince McMahon, a self-made billionaire who has changed the entire world. It felt like everything was just kind of a dream come true. And I’m feeling good about all of it.
You even got Vince in the announcement video. That’s so rare.
[Laughs] I made the ask. When I made the ask, I had to dance with it a little bit. I was like we could get some people to say something to promote and maybe like Vince McMahon maybe would say something, and everybody was like, “Whoa, I will run it by him.” And I was like, okay, okay. I get it. If not Vince, then it goes to somebody else. And then I guess they ran the idea by them and I got a text back from, I think it was Michael Cole. By the way, this is like the shot clock’s coming down, it’s coming very close to needing to announce this. And he’s like, uh, “Hey, Vince is going to do the video.”
I was so pumped about it. Especially off the “you’re fired” era where he would scream at him saying you’re hired. It just seemed like a cool thing. I’ve been very lucky and I didn’t get to work with Vince last Friday, but I think this week will be the first time I get to do it. And I just can’t wait to hear just an absolute icon of a human’s brain potentially spill out into my ear live on TV. It should be a blast.
How far are we taking this? Are we going to see you back in the ring?
The commentating angle is an easy one to start a run with. It is very visible and when done right it’s awesome. Absolutely awesome. But with that being said, I was so sore after Takeover 30 and War Games. So, so sore. I got a chance to find out, do I think I could have done this full time if I would have committed to it instead of going to college to kick footballs and the answer is still, I don’t know, because I’m not sure if my body would ever have been tough enough to go through that entire thing. I would definitely love to get a documented win. That’d be good to get a dub under my belt at some point, but I’m not a hundred percent sure what all my body could or could not handle if I were to have a real run, if that makes sense.