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.

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

  1. 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. “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.”

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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