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Pat McAfee joins WWE SmackDown commentary team

Image: WWE

Sports media star and 2020 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rookie of the Year award winner Pat McAfee has joined the SmackDown commentary team.

It was announced on Friday morning that McAfee will make his debut as a member of the SmackDown commentary team tonight. He'll be calling the show with Michael Cole going forward.

Cole and Corey Graves had been the SmackDown commentary team since the show debuted on Fox in October 2019. Graves has switched brands and is now on the Raw commentary team with Adnan Virk and Byron Saxton.

“For as long as I can remember WWE has been a company that I have admired, both for its incredible staying power of creating riveting entertainment and for its ability to connect people all over the globe,” McAfee said. “I’ve been fortunate to try a lot of cool professions but working for WWE was the one I looked forward to most. I am incredibly honored and grateful for the chance to give back to the business that has given me and many others so much and having the opportunity to sit at the same table that legends have graced is truly a dream come true. Now let’s go get it.”

McAfee, a former NFL All-Pro punter for the Indianapolis Colts, first appeared for WWE as an NXT pre-show panelist in 2018. He signed a multi-year deal with WWE in 2019.

McAfee has wrestled twice for NXT. He made his in-ring debut by facing Adam Cole at NXT TakeOver XXX in August of last year. At TakeOver: WarGames in December, McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch faced Undisputed Era (Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish) in a WarGames match.

McAfee has done commentary for SmackDown once before. With WWE personnel and much of the roster stuck in Saudi Arabia following Crown Jewel in 2019, McAfee was part of the commentary team for the November 1, 2019 episode of SmackDown.

Tonight's SmackDown will be the first episode of the show since WrestleMania 37. SmackDown Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode will defend their titles against The Street Profits on the episode. Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Chad Gable & Otis has also been announced for the show.