Patrick Justin McAfee is a former professional wrestler and wrestling color commentator, a former football punter and kick-off specialist soap opera. He is an analyst on ESPN’s College GameDay, a television program covering college football and also hosts The Pat McAfee Show live on YouTube which is also licensed across the ESPN platforms
Standing at 6ft 0in, McAfee also had a memorable football career as a placekicker, first with the West Virginia Mountaineers and ultimately in the NFL with the Indianapolis. He played in the Super Bowl his rookie year in a loss to the New Orleans Saints and over his eight-year career in the National Football League (NFL), he made two Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro in 2014.
McAfee has also carved out a solid broadcasting career since retiring. Beyond his work with ESPN, he was a guest commentator for WWE’s NXT TakeOver events in 2018 prior to signing a contract with the promotion early in the following year.
Early Life & College Career
McAfee was born in Pittsburgh in 1987 and was a multisport athlete, playing soccer, volleyball, and football at Plum High School. He received collegiate interest in all three sports but stuck with football and as a senior, attended a national competition highlighting the best field goal kicking prospects in America.
To attend the competition, McAfee borrowed $100 from a friend and played poker at an illegal club, turning it into $1,400. He made nine consecutive field goals, starting at 25 yards and moving five yards out each time.
He narrowly missed a 70-yard field goal, with the ball missing to the right but with enough distance to make it. After returning home, he was approached in the school’s lunchroom by Tony Gibson, West Virginia’s recruiting coordinator, who offered him a scholarship.
McAfee was quickly named a starter at West Virginia and 11-for-18 as a freshman on field goals. He also had 70 kick-offs for the season with 20 touchbacks.
His most memorable moment came against Louisville in a 46–44 triple-overtime win, which was reached after a successful McAfee onside kick. The onside kick gave running back Steve Slaton the chance to tie the game with a one-yard touchdown run.
A stellar freshman year set the tone for the rest of McAfee’s college career as he continued to impress as a top-class placekicker. He was named to the ESPN All-Bowl Team in his sophomore season and earned the Big East Special Team Player of the week honors three times in 2007 along with West Virginia’s Scott Shirley Award for the second consecutive year.
However, it was during the senior year that McAfee truly caught the eye, beginning with two field goals in a 48–21 season-opening victory over Villanova. He ultimately became the school record holder for all-time scoring and He was named a finalist for the Ray Guy Award.
McAfee was drafted in the seventh round with the 222nd overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He handled punting and kick-off duties for the Colts in 2009, as well as holding for extra points and field goals, a position he had never played before.
In 2009, McAfee was part of the Indianapolis team that won the AFC South, the AFC Championship, and reached Super Bowl XLIV. McAfee kicked off the game and handled kick-off and punt duties in the 31–17 loss to the New Orleans Saints. His solid campaign saw him named to the 2009 NFL All-Rookie Team.
McAfee remained with the Indianapolis Colts for the entirety of his career and established a reputation as a top-level kicker. He was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September 2014 after leading the NFL in punting average (45.6 yards) and touchbacks on kick-off (24), and converted the NFL’s only two successful onside kicks in the first four weeks of the season
After eight seasons in the NFL, McAfee announced his retirement in 2017 and stated he intended to join Barstool Sports as a contributor.
Pivot Into Broadcasting
Since retiring, McAfee has forged a respectable broadcasting career and started his own talk show, The Pat McAfee Show. He grew to become one of the most popular figures in the sports media industry, eventually earning an eight-figure deal with ESPN.
He hosted a two-hour weekday radio version of The Pat McAfee Show, which ultimately moved to Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio.
On July 29, 2019, Adam Schefter announced via Twitter that McAfee would be joining ESPN as the colour analyst for their Thursday Night College Football broadcasts, alongside Matt Hasselbeck. In the same year, McAfee began making regular appearances on Get Up! and College GameDay, after appearing on the latter show as a celebrity guest picker.
McAfee is also a part of Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions college football alternate telecasts on ESPN2. He has appeared as a guest twice on Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli.
In May 2023, ESPN announced that The Pat McAfee Show would move to its platforms, including ESPN television, ESPN+, and YouTube under a multi-year deal. On August 17, 2023, it was announced that The Pat McAfee Show would be making its debut on ESPN, ESPN+ and YouTube on September 7, 2023, the same day as the 2023 NFL season opener.
Family & relationships
McAfee became engaged to his girlfriend, Samantha Ludy, in February 2019. They got married August 1, 2020, at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel, Indiana, and welcomed their first child, a daughter, on May 4, 2023.
He is good friends with fellow wrestler and fellow former football player Thomas Pestock, best known by his ring name Baron Corbin. They were teammates at the Indianapolis Colts and lived together during their rookie year.
Having bonded over their love for wrestling, they would eventually work a match together at Summer Slam 2022
McAfee has amassed an estimated $30 million net worth from his time in football and multiple contracts during his broadcasting career. He also has lucrative endorsements with notable brands such as FanDuel, DraftKings, Lululemon, and Twitch.
His huge media following has seen him contracted by some of America’s leading sportsbooks to promote their best betting bonuses.