The 2022-23 NFL season will be without several staples, including Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger. In the broadcast booth, Troy Aikman will no longer call big games for Fox.
The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback confirmed he was moving on from the network in a Thursday radio appearance on KTCK. Aikman's next chapters in sports broadcasting will come at ESPN, as the Worldwide Leader reportedly made him a $90 million offer to call its "Monday Night Football" package (per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post) after over two decades at Fox, years primarily spent alongside play-by-play man Joe Buck.
Despite an easy decision, Aikman was appreciative for his time at Fox
The reportedly massive price tag attached wasn't the only reason why Aikman had little qualms about a change of locale: the Hall-of-Fame thrower said that, simply put, Fox didn't make him a counteroffer.
"Fox never jumped into the game. They stayed where they were and never made an offer. In fact, I didn't have any conversation with Fox until I got a call to congratulate me on my new deal," Aikman told hosts Norm Hitzges and Donovan Lewis. "It's a strange set of circumstances that led me, I guess, to this point where I'm now. And to not be back at Fox, which I never would have envisioned that happening six months ago. And so it's kind of strange how negotiations went six months ago. And then when we couldn't really reach what I felt was a fair value, I was able to negotiate an opt-out after six months, and that's what allowed me to be a free agent, if you will."
It appears that, despite their separation, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Fox were able to part on good terms.
"That was a decision that they made, and it's fine," he said. "I had 21 great years with Fox."
He and Buck succeeded Pat Summerall and John Madden as the network's primary NFL broadcasting pair in 2002 (the first three years also spent alongside Cris Collinsworth), shortly after the three-time Super Bowl champion ended a 12-year NFL career spent entirely in Dallas. Together, the two called six Super Bowls and also headed up Fox's "Thursday Night Football" package shared with NFL Network over the last four seasons. TNF is moving exclusively to Amazon Prime Video next season.
Though Buck has one year left on his deal with Fox, some have theorized that ESPN could try to lure him over to their booth as well. Aikman made it clear to Hitzges and Lewis that he would not be opposed to a reunion with Buck, whose wife Michelle Beisner serves as a feature reporter on the pregame show "Monday Night Countdown."
"I would love (that). We've been together for 20 years," the quarterback said. "He's one of my closest friends."
ESPN has carried the Monday night package since 2006. Aikman and his partner-to-be will take over for the three-man booth, consisting of Brian Griese, Steve Levy, and Louis Riddick, who oversaw the last two seasons. Griese recently left ESPN to accept the quarterback coach position with the San Francisco 49ers.