Meet Pat McAfee: Punter, Talk-show Host

McAfee casts a spell on his Broad Ripple audience.

McAfee casts a spell on his Broad Ripple audience.

He isn’t auditioning for The Tonight Show, but Pat McAfee is doing his best to make you think he is.

McAfee, the veteran punter for the Indianapolis Colts, is one month into the inaugural season of “The Indy Star/ Pat McAfee Show,” an online talk and comedy show presented by the Indianapolis Star. On paper you might assume the show is another PR-spin show like every other weekly college or NFL coach’s show.

Did I mention he’s a punter?

Don’t let me forget to mention his friend Brian, the Breast Cancer Awareness Unicorn.

When introduced Tuesday night at Kilroy’s, a bar in Broad Ripple with as many flat screen TVs as there are drink concoctions listed on the wall, the West Virginia alumnus emerged from a packed crowd of Colts fans wearing a pink dress shirt and holding Brian.

Since McAfee is a Colt, it’s a given that the set is adorned in blue, with three back drops covered in the logo of the show’s main sponsor, AndyMohr.com. With the sun setting on Indianapolis, the set is lit by three giant photography lamps.

With a refreshing self-deprecating sense of humor we hardly ever see from athletes — remember, punter —- McAfee begins the show with an opening monologue. Filled with jokes about current events, McAfee intertwines both real life and the world of sports, touching on the recent government shutdown by pleading for the void to be filled by, “Anybody but the replacement refs.”

After McAfee spoils the ending to “Breaking Bad” for the crowd, the 60-minute show moves on to a weekly video segment with humorous-player interviews meant mostly for the online crowd – because it can’t be heard over the bar crowd — and then a roundtable segment with Star writers Bob Kravitz and Stephen Holder.

Separated by a fan-involved game segment and a Twitter questions to keep both audiences entertained, the round-table is divided into two segments. The first looks at last Sunday’s game and the second the upcoming home-game against Seattle.

McAfee brought his humor and a decent amount of analysis to the “Bob Kravitz Roast of the Jacksonville Jaguars,” but let the writers do their job as the trio sat at a “desk” made mostly of a wooden barrel with Brian sitting atop it.

The rest of the show is filled with another fan-involved game involving flash cards and McAfee’s teammate Jerrell Freeman.

Even with the early video segment early, “The Indy Star/Pat McAfee Show” never feels like it’s pandering to the online audience while excluding the present crowd. Even with the large amount of televisions in the bar, no one in the audience paid much attention to them throughout the show. The laughs are genuine and the “coach speak” is non-existent.

The lasting image from this edition of the weekly show was in the crowd full of Colts gear. One woman proudly wore a McAfee jersey with his name signed in sharpie.

Even though McAfee reminds the crowd, “I’m the punter if you didn’t know that,” they honestly do not mind.

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About Daniel McFadin

NASCAR writer for NBCSports.com. Former Sporting News intern. Graduated from IUPUI in Indianapolis with a master in sports journalism in 2014 and from Arkansas State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. Originally from Lewisville, Texas, now in Fort Worth. Ask me if I like Star Wars. I dare you.
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