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Look: Prominent College Football Announcer Posts Heartfelt Goodbye To ESPN

Athlon Sports 2/2/2023 Mitchell Forde
© Provided by Athlon Sports

About a month ago, it was reported that NBC had poached Todd Blackledge, the former Penn State quarterback and current college football color commentator, from ESPN to headline its new Big Ten football broadcasts.

Thursday, Blackledge made the news official.

Blackledge quoted a tweet from ESPN announcing his departure and offered a heartfelt goodbye to the company for which he's called games since 2006.

"Lots of great memories that I will never forget," Blackledge wrote. "Many wonderful friends that will always be in my heart. Nobody did football better than the K Crew!"

Blackledge's farewell coincided with NBC announcing that he will be paired with Noah Eagle, the son of well-known play-by-play commentator Ian Eagle, in its broadcast booth. Kathryn Tappen will round out the team as the sideline reporter.

Blackledge who won the Davey O'Brien Award in 1982 as the nation's best quarterback, didn't find sustained success as a player in the NFL. But he's been a prominent voice in broadcasting since the mid-1990s. 

Blackledge has spent the past few seasons paired with play-by-play man Sean McDonough and sideline reporter Holly Rowe for ESPN broadcasts. He also starred in "Todd's Taste of the Town," a segment in which he highlighted local restaurants when traveling to games.

The NBC will start broadcasting a primetime Big Ten matchup each Saturday starting this fall as part of the league's new, $7 billion media rights deal, which doesn't include games on ESPN.

NBC is paying the Big Ten $350 million per year to broadcast a minimum of 15 football games each season, according to a story from The Athletic. That number will be 16 this fall and in 2026, when the network will air the Big Ten championship game.

Previously, NBC's only college football inventory was Notre Dame home games. The network will continue to air Fighting Irish games through at least the 2024 campaign.

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