On Thursday, it became official that former Penn State quarterback Todd Blackledge is leaving ESPN and joining NBC Sports as part of the coverage of Big Ten football coming in 2023.
Get set for Big Ten Saturday Night! 🏈
Starting September 2nd, the trio of @Todd_Blackledge, @NoahEagle15 and @KathrynTappen will call Big Ten Football on NBC and @peacock.
More: https://t.co/2K6OWuJdrz pic.twitter.com/eUEv7Kgb7S
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) February 2, 2023
Blackledge will be the color commentator, with Noah Eagle handling play-by-play duties and Kathryn Tappen as the sideline reporter.
Blackledge had worked at ESPN since 2006 alongside Mike Patrick, Brad Nessler, Craig James and Sean McDonough in its college football coverage over the years. He called a College Football Playoff semifinal game every year since its inception in 2014.
Each weekend from Sept. 2 through Nov. 25, NBC will air Big Ten Saturday Night, which will also stream on Peacock. NBC will broadcast a network-record 33 college football games this fall.
Blackledge made a statement on Twitter:
“I am so very thankful for my last 17 years at ESPN,” he tweeted. “The relationships I built and the excellent work done by the K crew. “That being said, I am beyond excited about my new opportunity at NBC.”
I am so very thankful for my last 17 years at ESPN, the relationships that were built, and the excellent work done by the K Crew. That being said, I am beyond excited about my new opportunity with NBC! https://t.co/0F0sKimHE4
— Todd Blackledge (@Todd_Blackledge) February 2, 2023
Blackledge was the starting quarterback for Penn State’s 1982 national championship team and is considered one of the best quarterbacks in program history. After his college career, Blackledge went seventh overall to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1983 draft. He ended up playing seven NFL seasons with the Chiefs (1983-87) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1988-89.)
His vast experience calling big-time games is perfect for NBC, who landed the rights to Big Ten sports along with CBS and Fox as a part of an $8 billion broadcasting rights deal over the next seven years.
In a statement, ESPN wrote that Blackledge “has been one of our leading and trusted college football voices.”
”He is a respected analyst for his meticulous preparation and his cerebral approach, while his relatable personality and love of food have made him a favorite among colleagues and fans,” the statement read. “We thank Todd for everything he has contributed to ESPN and wish him continued success.”