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Report: Mike Ditka out, Matthew Hasselbeck in at ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown

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The changes are continuing for ESPN’s primary NFL studio shows.

According to Jason McIntyre of, Mike Ditka is out and Matthew Hasselbeck is in at Sunday NFL Countdown. Hasselbeck joins the recently-retired Charles Woodson at the big desk. Woodson replaces Keyshawn Johnson.

Hasselbeck had said he wanted to play another season, but the Colts released him and, apparently, no other viable offers to play emerged. Or perhaps he decided to slide into a choice seat while the choice seat was available.

McIntyre reports that Ditka isn’t leaving ESPN. Instead, he’ll have an “emeritus-type NFL role” at ESPN.

More changes are expected as soon as next year; there’s persistent chatter in industry circles that Chris Berman and Tom Jackson could be gone after 2016.

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62 Responses to “Report: Mike Ditka out, Matthew Hasselbeck in at ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown”
  1. mikeinbrookline says: Mar 8, 2016 10:59 PM

    Not that I’ve watched a second of any of their non game programming but years ago Ditka was unlistenable. I’m sure he’s only gotten worse with age.

  2. kcchiefs19 says: Mar 8, 2016 10:59 PM

    Would rather see Coach than Matt

  3. longislandblitz says: Mar 8, 2016 11:01 PM

    Stopped watching that show a few years ago anyway.It became boring and predictable

  4. philyeagles5 says: Mar 8, 2016 11:02 PM

    Woodson and Hasselbeck seem like major downgrades from Keyshawn and Ditka.

  5. bleedingfacemask says: Mar 8, 2016 11:02 PM

    “Instead, he’ll have an “emeritus-type NFL role” at ESPN.”

    This is code for, “We’re politely positioning this Trump-loving, Obama-bashing throwback to a dead era close to the exit door.”

  6. thejuddstir says: Mar 8, 2016 11:06 PM

    Tom Jackson should’ve been gone long ago. It is time that ESPN revamped their crew.

  7. wmnf says: Mar 8, 2016 11:09 PM

    Who even watches the 4 letter network anymore? It’s all noise.

  8. genericcommenter says: Mar 8, 2016 11:18 PM

    I’ll never forget the time Ditka was on a Super Bowl pre-show as an ambassador for a toilet paper company and he spent his whole time talking about toilet safety.

  9. seanx40 says: Mar 8, 2016 11:19 PM

    Ditka does seem a little…punchy these days. He was awful every time I turned ESPN on.

  10. suggahbuggah says: Mar 8, 2016 11:24 PM

    Haven’t watched more than 10 minutes of anything on ESPN in 12 years..glad he’s gone, has no business talking about a whole draft for Ricky Williams showed just an egotistical brain fart he is.

  11. lukedunphysscienceproject says: Mar 8, 2016 11:26 PM

    Why do people watch NFL studio shows? 5-7 old men sitting at a long table yammering their opinions about football.

    If I want that, I’ll go to any bar in America, and the drunken strangers there will probably be far more entertaining.

    I literally haven’t watched 10 seconds of an NFL studio show in at least a decade. The funniest part of this article to me was that I had no idea Chris Berman and Tom Jackson were still there. I remember thinking how old they looked and sounded back in the early 90’s.

    Actually, I’m not sure if that’s funny or depressing.

  12. sportsbastard says: Mar 8, 2016 11:27 PM

    I might actually watch if they replaced Berman with Trey Wingo.

  13. blacknole08 says: Mar 8, 2016 11:31 PM

    I grew up watching Boomer and TJ on NFL Primetime and Sunday and Monday NFL Countdown. If true, this really is the end of an era. I wonder who replaces them.

    Oh, and please get rid if Cris Carter. He whines way too much.

  14. kingpel says: Mar 8, 2016 11:33 PM

    I think the show would be better with just Berman and Jackson. The large panels add nothing to the show and is just a bunch of people talking over one another while saying absolutely nothing. ESPN needs to figure out why their fantasy show on ESPN 2 is far superior to Countdown.

  15. shwanker81 says: Mar 8, 2016 11:40 PM

    Honestly didn’t mind Ditka on the set. Absolutely hated Keyshawn. I also like Tom Jackson and would be sad to see him go.

  16. brandonj21 says: Mar 8, 2016 11:42 PM

    Ditka was falling asleep during tapings too many times

  17. Big Ant TV says: Mar 8, 2016 11:48 PM

    Next up Peyton manning unless Nfl network gets him 1st

  18. cjpackfan says: Mar 8, 2016 11:56 PM

    wow…they finally dumped the grumpy old coach !

  19. brucetrimble says: Mar 8, 2016 11:59 PM

    ESPN has become irrelevant. Add the unethical journalism tactics of A Schefter and C Mortenson, and you have a daily dumpster fire.

  20. hahalolrofl says: Mar 9, 2016 12:01 AM

    Wow trying hard to lure back people like me who stopped watching years ago when it shifted to a personality-based network.

  21. fedora59 says: Mar 9, 2016 12:15 AM

    Berman and Jackson could be gone after ’16? Please don’t toy with me.
    I enjoyed them in the early years of ESPN Sunday Night Football Highlights. But my God, Berman’s act grew thinner than his hair 20 seasons ago.
    And Jackson’s( angry old guy) perspective is tired.
    Hence the Ditka reassignment.

  22. p31squared says: Mar 9, 2016 12:23 AM

    Matt’s a bright and funny guy. He should do well in the studio.

  23. dohczeppelin says: Mar 9, 2016 12:24 AM

    Matt Hasselbeck? Huh? Nothing against the guy but that isn’t exactly an exciting “free agent” signing for their show.

    Oh well, these shows are all awful anyways. Doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to find a handful of retired NFL players who can string a few meaningful sentences together about football but reality demonstrates otherwise.

    I swear that Cris Collinsworth is the only commentator/announcer/show host/etc. that’s ever been worth listening to. He’s fantastic but all of the other talking heads in the NFL are pretty lame.

  24. astrosfan75956 says: Mar 9, 2016 12:27 AM

    ESPN should throw a lot of money at Peyton.

  25. jacobslatter says: Mar 9, 2016 12:58 AM

    I didn’t like Berman EVER.

  26. ironhorseblues says: Mar 9, 2016 1:14 AM

    I have not watched any ESPN show with Chris Berman in the last 4 or 5 years because he is unwatchable. As soon as I see him I switch the channel. His act got old a loooong time ago please, please ESPN get rid of this buffoon.

  27. juliusbrown says: Mar 9, 2016 1:50 AM

    The Trey Wingo Era is coming. We just have to hold on a little longer. This show needed a full revamp years ago.

  28. beanzze says: Mar 9, 2016 1:52 AM

    Juddster is insane. Tom Jackson is by far the best, most knowledgable one on the crew. Guess Ditka shouldn’t have bashed Obama.

  29. floridaslonechargersfan says: Mar 9, 2016 2:07 AM

    They should’ve canned Berman and Jackson when they took NFL Primetime off the air after the 2005 season. Best highlight show so of course it went straight into the trash.

  30. xenova1 says: Mar 9, 2016 2:17 AM

    Is this because of his political insight? I’m not a big Ditka fan but thought he added personality and insight to the program. And, he knew when to shut up and not interrupt others while they were talking. Hasselbeck is smart but bland as a commentator.

  31. badrobot74 says: Mar 9, 2016 2:43 AM

    They need to emeritus Chris Bermans buffoonish act right out the door ASAP

  32. whodey420 says: Mar 9, 2016 3:04 AM

    The only thing Ditka has done worth watching/talking about
    in the last few years was fart on Cris Carter on the air. Chris Berman should have been gone 25 years ago!

  33. RegisHawk says: Mar 9, 2016 3:04 AM


  34. seahawkfanfrom1970s says: Mar 9, 2016 3:18 AM

    If they dump Chris Berman and Tom Jackson, they’ll have dumped the LAST remaining reason I’ve watched ESPN – and kept my satellite – the last 20-some years.

  35. gofor2with3pointlead says: Mar 9, 2016 3:34 AM

    I understand that in this internet age it’s en vogue to trash “The mothership”. But there ain’t one of you swingin sad sacks that’s been in the same zip code as some of them fellas, and that grates your cheese. Get over yourselves. Your not that good at being critics either. Where I come from, you dance with who brung ya, even if she ain’t the prettiest girl in the room anymore.

  36. patsfan4lifesbchamps says: Mar 9, 2016 4:37 AM

    He is now ready to play a major role in Trump’s campaign and if he wins his administration.

  37. thisisastupidusername says: Mar 9, 2016 4:53 AM

    Only days after Ditka openly threw support to Trump.

  38. remizak says: Mar 9, 2016 5:05 AM

    We’ll see if Hasselbeck and Woodson are any good, but dumping “you kids get off my lawn” Ditka and Keyshawn are good moves. And I’ll be doing a happy dance when Tom Jackson joins them.

  39. badmoonrison says: Mar 9, 2016 5:29 AM

    Emeritus type. Jeez where do they get these phrases from? Seriously. You gotta laugh at the mainstream media. Theyre like that cousin whos back from his first year of college and thinks he’s solved the riddles of the universe.

  40. wallabear says: Mar 9, 2016 5:45 AM

    Key > Hassle+Wood

  41. iammrbinky says: Mar 9, 2016 6:32 AM

    ESPN still has a Sunday pre game show? People still watch it? Wow!!

  42. delgadodecortho says: Mar 9, 2016 6:42 AM

    It should have been Berman.

  43. sidepull says: Mar 9, 2016 6:59 AM

    That stinks.

  44. terripet says: Mar 9, 2016 7:19 AM

    Good this guy should of been gone a long time ago.

  45. curmudgeon13 says: Mar 9, 2016 7:25 AM

    ESPN had to do something. The NFL Network is completely dominating with its “personalities”…….

  46. conormacleod says: Mar 9, 2016 8:39 AM

    Don’t feel bad for Ditka. I’m not sure he even realized he was still on tv anymore. He’d wake up and make comments like he was in his own living room watching tv, not on tv.

  47. mccontrary says: Mar 9, 2016 9:28 AM

    This was inevitable. Ditka’s so-called insights had become less and less insightful and he came across like your grouchy uncle who just plain missed the old days.

  48. metitometin says: Mar 9, 2016 9:55 AM

    Thank God. One less idiot Republican to have to look at on Sundays. He’d fit right in on FOX Noise.

  49. tfarr45 says: Mar 9, 2016 10:18 AM

    He’ll go lead Trump pep rallys now in his suit and tennis shoes

  50. bubbahotepp says: Mar 9, 2016 10:25 AM

    Good. Keyshawn and Ditka were nothing but distractions on an already boring show. Especially Ditka, whose angry, grumpy, old school shtick was as tired as his face. He never said anything worthwhile, while he rode that show to a paycheck the same way he rode Buddy Ryan to a Super bowl ring.

  51. izzysydbas says: Mar 9, 2016 10:26 AM

    I’m sure the fact that Ditka dared to criticize the liberal hero Obama had nothing to do with this, right?

  52. fmc651 says: Mar 9, 2016 10:57 AM

    Berman finally walking out the door would be nice. That fathead has been annoying people for decades. I also do not know how BSPN put up with his boorish behavior off air for as long as they have. They took a simple task of showing highlights of games and ruined it. Fans don’t want to see some guy with an agenda or shtick. Just show the highlights. BSPN failed to just show the highlights so they lost viewers.

  53. tangovader says: Mar 9, 2016 11:01 AM

    “Coaches coach and players play!” *grunt* *fart* “Zzzzzzzzzzzzz”.

    Good riddance.

  54. fmc651 says: Mar 9, 2016 11:01 AM

    I’m sure the fact that Ditka dared to criticize the liberal hero Obama had nothing to do with this, right?


    Izzy Ditka farting on air couldn’t have help his cause. He is a meathead that added nothing. He looked bored while he was there. They made the right decision.

  55. phluffyclouds says: Mar 9, 2016 11:24 AM

    Charles Woodson over Keyshawn!!!

    Yes! Thank you!!!!!

  56. bobsnygiants says: Mar 9, 2016 12:12 PM

    rather see Mike than a fail QB.

  57. corporatemediaprostitute says: Mar 9, 2016 12:34 PM

    Can someone please translate those gravelly sounds Chris makes? It sounds conversational, but the words are indistinguishable.

  58. tonebones says: Mar 9, 2016 12:41 PM

    I love Ditka when he’s talking about football, but now he’s spouting off about politics, and he’s not sounding too bright. I guess ESPN loses money when the economy goes into recession.

  59. michaelh545 says: Mar 9, 2016 1:06 PM

    Then there’s Neon Deion & Michael Coker Irvin over on NFLN. UNWATCHABLE & especially UNLISTENABLE!! My lawd!!!

  60. packerssuckandsodoyou says: Mar 9, 2016 1:28 PM

    Guess they got sick of him farting on the set.

  61. silvernblacksabbath says: Mar 9, 2016 2:38 PM

    Has Ditka finished a sentence in the past 10 years???

  62. silvernblacksabbath says: Mar 9, 2016 2:42 PM


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