Former Nittany Lions Staying with ESPN/ABC on New Deal

Former Nittany Lion and current ABC and ESPN Color commentator Todd Blackledge called the Penn State vs Pitt game in Week 2. He joined Sports Talk with Steve Jones today to talk about the Penn State and Ohio State game on Saturday as well as his new deal with ESPN and ABC. Details on that below.

Todd Blackledge Interview Pt 1

Todd Blackledge Interview Pt 2


ESPN Re-signs College Football Analyst Todd Blackledge to Multi-Year Deal

  • Staple of ESPN’s Regular Season Prime-Time Coverage, Major Bowl Games, Including College Football Playoff
  • Veteran College Voice Has Called Games for ESPN and ABC for More than 15 Years; Now, in Midst of 28th College Football Season Overall

ESPN has re-signed veteran college football analyst Todd Blackledge to a new multi-year deal, continuing the esteemed football voice’s long-term tenure with ESPN and ABC which originally began in 1994. The Penn State national championship-winning quarterback turned football pundit has been a staple of ESPN’s college football coverage since returning to ESPN and ABC in 2006, calling prime-time games regularly during the season. Since the inception of the College Football Playoff in 2014, the former NFL first round pick has called a CFP Semifinal each year on ESPN and the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio. Dating back to 2006, Blackledge has called 10 national championships on ESPN Radio.

“I feel truly blessed and thankful to continue calling games on ESPN,” said Blackledge. “Over the last decade plus, I have traveled to the best venues and some of the sport’s best atmospheres, calling great games, major bowl matchups and, now, the College Football Playoff. More importantly, I have been privileged to work alongside some of the best partners in the business: the late John Saunders, Brad Nessler, Mike Patrick, Joe Tessitore, and Mike Tirico in the past and my current team of Sean McDonough and Holly Rowe. Each one has helped elevate my career and I am forever indebted.”

“Over the course of his career, Todd has cultivated so much credibility in the sport through his unwavering, meticulous preparation which results in very acute analysis,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN vice president of production. “That approach, combined with his vast knowledge of the game and natural intuition, results in an ability to predict how situations will play out on the field well before they happen. His style is steadfast, regardless of the game, regardless of the stakes. All of these attributes have made him one of sports television’s most respected analysts.”

Blackledge joined the broadcasting ranks following his playing career, working for a variety of outlets (1991-93) before joining ABC (1994-98) and later CBS (1999-2005). He re-joined ESPN and ABC for the 2006 season, as an established astute voice calling the sport’s marquee games. In total, Blackledge is now in the midst of his 28th season behind a microphone each Saturday in the fall.

Since returning to ESPN and ABC, Blackledge’s identifies his most memorable games:

  • Sept. 1, 2007: East Carolina at Virginia Tech, the Hokies’ first game following the tragedy in April of the same year
  • Sept. 13, 2014: Boston College upsets USC in the first annual Red Bandana game at Alumni Stadium
  • Oct. 11, 2014: Baylor scores 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat TCU, 61-58.
  • Jan. 1, 2015: Ohio State beats Alabama in the inaugural year of the CFP Semifinals
  • Sept. 4, 2016: Texas defeats Notre Dame in overtime to begin the 2016 season

Blackledge’s Penn State Experience Set Foundation for Career Success
During his college career at Penn State, Blackledge excelled on and off the field. The quarterback was a three-year starter for the Nittany Lions, leading his squad to a 29-4 record and the 1982 national championship while also winning the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s most outstanding QB in the process.  Blackledge was also first-team Academic All-American and earned the Eric Walker Award from Penn State in 1983, given annually to the senior believed to have most “enhanced the esteem and recognition of the University.”

Later on, Blackledge was one of seven former NCAA student-athletes selected to receive the 2008 Silver Anniversary Award, which recognizes former student-athletes who completed successful collegiate careers and have gone on to excel in their chosen professions. Capping his honors, he was awarded Penn State’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.

Blackledge’s Nittany Lions success led him be selected by the Kansas City Chiefs seventh overall in the 1983 NFL Draft, beginning a seven-year NFL career which included two years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In that time, he threw for more than 5,200 yards and 29 touchdowns.