Pat McAfee is well-known for his outstanding work behind the booth on Friday nights for WWE SmackDown. Even before that, he was a punter with the Indianapolis Colts, where he spent eight years. And those eight years have now made him eligible to be nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
The final 15 nominees for the Modern-Era category will be revealed in January 2023 after the PFHOF reduces the number of nominees to 25 in November. There are just four kickers, Morten Andersen, George Blanda, Lou Groza, and Jan Stenerud, as well as one punter, Ray Gay, out of the 362 players that are now enshrined in Canton.
McAfee was a 2009 Colts draft choice who was honored for his accomplishments by being chosen to the NFL All-Rookie Team. His most prosperous year, 2014, also brought about his first Pro Bowl appearance. After McAfee’s success with onside kicks that season, he had the NFL’s only two successful kicks in the first four weeks of the season, which is a remarkable record.
On February 2, 2017, McAfee announced his retirement from football, citing his third knee surgery in four seasons as well as his complicated relationship with then-Colts general manager Ryan Grigson. McAfee, who was selected for two Pro Bowls, punted 575 times in 127 career games for a net average of 23,048 yards and a total of 26,669 yards. The longest punt of his career, a 74-yarder, occurred in the 2016 campaign, which was also the year he averaged 49.3 yards per punt, which was the highest of his career.
After the college football season ends on January 9, 2023, with the National Championship game, McAfee will rejoin “Smack Dahn” broadcast partner Michael Cole.
It’s a tremendous accomplishment to be nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and fans of McAfee’s daily show got to see him react to the news live. Stay tuned to Thirsty for the latest updates.
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