Troy Aikman Explains Why He Left Fox Sports for ESPN

Troy Aikman will be calling NFL games for a new network in the fall. It was recently announced that he and Joe Buck will be the faces of ESPN's Monday Night Football after working together on Fox Sports for over 20 years. Aikman, who won three Super Bowls as quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, appeared on the SI Media Podcast and was asked why he joined ESPN. Aikman revealed that Fox allowed him to sign a five-year contract with the four-letter network. 

"Fox is welcome to do whatever it is they feel is in their best interest as I am, as everybody is, so there's no hard feelings about anything," Aikman said, per Sports Illustrated. "I had a great 21 years at Fox. I guess what's perplexing to me is that I had no conversation with my boss [Fox Sports president Eric Shanks] until he called me to congratulate me on my contract with ESPN."  

Aikman added: "I guess it's disappointing. I would've thought there would've been a conversation at least. And then when I did talk with him, I just asked for an explanation on some things that I didn't quite understand, and he opted not to do that as well. I guess that's where it's left and that's how I'll leave Fox and that's fine. I'm excited about ESPN and thrilled to continue to work with Joe."

Buck and Aikman will replace Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, and the trio began calling games in 2020. Since Monday Night Football was moved to ESPN in 2006, there have been numerous changes to the broadcast team. Mike Tirico is the longest-tenured play-by-play announcer, calling games from 2006 to 2015. Jon Gruden is the longest-tenured color commentator as he was on the broadcast from 2009 to 2017. 

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Aikman was also asked about Buck joining him on ESPN. "I think that [Fox] probably would've liked to have kept Joe. He's a real asset to the company, of course, with all that he does. And when I say all that he does, it goes beyond what the public sees with baseball and football and when the network had golf," Aikman said. "He also does a lot behind the scenes for the company. He has been a valued asset, but he's probably as confused as I am in the sense that, you know, the talks that I was having with Amazon were going on for quite some time and yet there were no conversations going on with Joe and how that might impact him."