Pat McAfee became a full-time cohost on ESPN's iconic College GameDay in 2022, but it was a few year earlier when he realized just hope popular the Saturday morning staple is with sports fans.
During an appearance on this week’s SI Media With Jimmy Traina, McAfee recalled a story about the most powerful man in the world at the time reaching out to compliment the former NFL punter.
“So, in 2019 before COVID, I got to do a few [GameDay shows] because Adam Vinatieri was supposed to do it in South Dakota State, but he was not available. They sent me over there, I cut a couple promos, had a good time. They invited me back to the next few and then COVID happened and I was kind of going in from my studio, kind of dropping in, dropping out.
“And one of the times, I forget what it was, I was live from my studio, they were on location. I did something and I got a message from somebody that was working in President Obama’s office. So he has an office in Chicago and the message was ‘President Obama wanted me to let you know that he enjoyed what you just did on College GameDay,’ or something like that. And I was like, ‘Oh s---.’ Like, O.K., so President Obama’s not watching my YouTube show. You know what I mean?
“So like it was in 2020, I think, when I realized like, hey, this is a completely different animal and it is an institution and the people that have worked there have been there basically since it started. I mean, there’s a lot of history in that room whenever I go in there. And they were all incredibly kind to me. And I’m very, very grateful for that. And lucky to be part of it.”
On getting a message from the former president, McAfee added, “Yeah, it was wild. I literally read it and was like, ‘This is a joke.’ I said, ‘This isn't real.’ And then I had to get it checked by somebody else. I’m like, ‘Yeah, President Obama has no idea. I exist on YouTube. So, yeah, GameDay’s a littttttttle bit different. I think GameDay’s a litttttttle bit different.”
You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on YouTube.