A rather interesting piece of news got lost in the QB whirlwind these past two weeks. Troy Aikman signed a deal with ESPN to work the Monday Night Football booth. End of an era at FOX. Not too long afterward, it turns out Joe Buck is going to join him. That was honestly bigger news, because Buck was basically the Fox announcer. He’s the big name. He’s the guy. He’s not only the voice of Fox NFL Sunday, he’s the voice of Fox Major League Baseball in the postseason. Now him and his buddy Aikman are the new Monday Night Football booth. It’s gonna be weird. I honestly do not remember who the Fox A team was before these two showed up. Although I’ve mocked them a lot, and even softened up on them in my old age, they are honestly just…going to a different channel to probably be the exact same crew.

Even if you hate Buck and Aikman there’s no getting around the fact that this is an upgrade for ESPN. In the same way I can’t remember when Fox didn’t have these two in the booth, I can’t remember the last time MNF had a good booth to begin with. ESPN’s absolute failure to make a compelling group of people commentate football has been an absolute disaster for years. Each year seemed to have a different cast of morons. They’d either be absolutely stupid (Booger) or utterly forgettable (whoever was there this year). The only good MNF production in the last decade for MNF is the silly 3d graphics they do once a game. Those are a good level of stupid. Everything else has been garbage. Remember the Booger Mobile? I do. ESPN sucks.

Bringing these two steady, if dull, hands into the booth is a good move. I’m curious how much will change. If they decide to get a little too cute, or if ESPN lets them a bit loose. I would prefer a slightly looser Buck and Joe. The few times they loosen up and crack jokes, it works. Aikman still slurs his words and sounds lost far too often, and Joe is a promo machine, but I’ve come to appreciate the chemistry that can exist between two friends who have worked together for so long that one of them has absolutely 100% held the other one as they threw up on the toilet.

Fox is replacing Buck with Kevin Burkhardt. Burkhardt is perfectly fine. No complaints. He doesn’t stand out to me but he seems fine as a play-by-play guy. Rumors seem to be that he’ll partner with Greg Olsen, who is good and a welcome young voice. There’s also a chance it’s Aqib Talib, but Talib is kind of unconventional in the booth and I doubt Fox goes for that for the A-team.

I’m still going to watch the Manningcast instead of Buck/Troy anyway. For me, a guy who watches too much football, the unconventional and conversational sidecast is far more interesting than another group of dudes doing a slightly different spin on the same job, but the Manningcast isn’t for everyone and works better as a side option. The Manningcast could also stand to improve some things. But for the games without the Mannings, at least the MNF booth will be tolerable again.