Pat Haden Out of NBC Booth, In as USC AD

Mike Garrett’s post sanctions tenure didn’t last long at USC with Tuesday’s announcement that former NBC Notre Dame color commentator Pat Haden would be taking over as the Athletics Director for Southern Cal.

The news of Garrett’s departure from USC shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.  After the sanctions were handed to USC, Garrett was defiant, if not arrogant towards the NCAA’s decision.  Under his guidance, USC also had to recently send out letters of apology to several schools after incorrectly accusing the schools of illegally contacting USC freshman Dillon Baxter.

The arrival of Haden was one of several moves made by  incoming  USC president MaxNikias aimed at cleaning house within the athletic department at USC in the wake of last month’s major sanctions passed down by the NCAA.  Southern Cal will also remove all displaying recognizing the accomplishments of Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo from Heritage Hall – including the Heisman Trophy the school received when Bush won the award in 2005.

With Haden’s departure from NBC, a hole was created in the NBC Notre Dame coverage team.  Haden had provided the color commentary during Notre Dame home games for the past 12 years most recently alongside play by play announcer Tom Hammond.

NBC didn’t say anything about a replacement for Haden on Tuesday, but that hasn’t stopped Notre Dame fans from speculating about how might replace Haden.

As former Trojan quarterback who engineered one of the worst comebacks against the Irish, most Notre Dame fans were never too keen with Haden announcing every home game.  Not that Haden was bad at what he did.  Hearing a former USC quarterback providing the commentary over some of the leanest years of Notre Dame football, however, never set well with many Notre Dame fans.

John Walters did an excellent job outlining almost every imaginable replacement for Haden over on Fan House.

One of the more interesting names Walter’s threw out was former Notre Dame quarterback Steve Beuerlein.  I think NBC will want to avoid having a “homer” commentator for its Notre Dame coverage, but someone like Beuerlein isn’t really a marquee name like a Jerome Bettis, Joe Theismann, or Joe Montana would be.  Beuerlein has done some color commentary for CBS previously and even did a few Notre Dame-Navy games in recent years.  He was more than solid in his coverage and would provide a unique perspective to the NBC coverage.

Given the number of subway alumni who tune in weekly to Notre Dame games, having someone in the booth who can relate to the uniqueness of Notre Dame and provide stories about his days in South Bend would be a nice touch.  Beuerlein has the personality to be able to pull off giving a fair and balanced view of the action as well and isn’t overly opinionated like, say,  Joe Theismann was as a commentator.

Whoever NBC gets, they may have a little trouble in the process.  With only 7 games to televise compared to the other networks which have games every week for their announcers, the chances of recruiting a top notch commentator from another network are slim.  Working in their favor, however, is NBC’s Sunday Night Football.  They could put together a nice package including a role on their weekly pre-game show to lure in a talented announcer.

Now, if only NBC would do something about finding a new play by play commentator too…

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  1. My God,

    With Don Crique on the radio, we need someone who is not an embarassing homer. As for ND history,what who needs to know, the glory days of Knute? this is 2010 and we suck.

  2. I don’t understand this talk about finding some sort of big name to announce Notre Dame football games. I have lived and breathed Notre Dame football my entire life. I love the Irish. All I want is someone who’s willing to correctly call the game without incorrectly pronouncing players names they see week in and out. I don’t want some announcer trying to entertain me, like he’s some kind of stand up comedian. It’s football for crying out loud! Tell us what is happening and occasionally make an unbiased insightful comment about the course of the game and each team’s season and what this game means to both teams. Don’t try to tell millions of people what you “think” either the players or coaches are thinking because guess what, you don’t have a clue. I think that any upstart announcer would be more than willing to take the job and do just as well, if not better than some second rate guy that happens to have a name that we all know. Think about it, there are literally thousands of students in colleges across the country wanting to become a sports broadcaster one day. It can’t the impossible to find a guy.

    1. As long as it takes Collinsworth away from ever announcing or talking about the San Francisco 49ers again. He’s too biased against them because of those lost Superbowls that I’m always reaching for the mute button whenever he starts to talk about them.

  3. Tom Hammond seemed to be WAAAAAAAAAAY more Anti-ND than Haden did. It’s not like Haden has to hate ND because he went to a rival school.

  4. How about Bob Trumpy? ND guy. Great voice. Plus, the best part, he would open the slot up for Tony Roberts, the best radio voice we’ve had.

  5. If we are going to “Wake Up The Echo’s” lets start with a broadcasting crew that can bring some fire and excitement to the telecast.
    ND had a terrific passing game last year with Clausen, Tate, Floyd, and Rudolph. We had more than a few heart stopping moments and last second wins last year, and a ton of highlight reeel plays, but you would have hardly known it with Hammonds and Haden calling the games.
    You always get this talk about having broadcasters who are fair and balanced. I think that was true back in the 70’s and 80’s when ND was dominating college football.
    But in today’s world, it’s all media driven. NBC wants ratings. Winning will do that, but how you package and promote your product has a lot to do with it too. We are an Independent. We are trying to get viewers to watch our games. We have to compete with the Big Ten, The SEC, The Big 12, and on and on.
    Remember Jack Brickhouse, and Hary Cary? They loved the teams that they did broadcasts for. And the fans loved them. I never was much of a Cubs fan, but I have to admit, Jack and Hary brought excitement to the game.
    Is that wrong approch for ND?

  6. Why would Bob Costas, a play by play guy, replace Haden(a color commentator)? That makes ZERO sense.

    You need a play by play guy and a color guy/analyst.

    So none of these choices/combinations make any sense
    Aaron Taylor and Allen Pinkett
    Mike Golic and Tony Roberts
    Raghib Ismial and Jerome Bettis (wait – they migh terminate the NBC contract after the first game)
    Mirko Jurovic and Reggie Brooks

    Hammond and Thayer would be good.

    Or pull Criqui away from the radio and team him with Thayer or Taylor.

  7. Me personally Im Glad Pat is gone he always would bring up negative stuff with how the Irish played it was like cheap shots to the side when the irish didnt play well. We need to have a ND guy in the booth. I always felt he brought out the negative in the Irish, why did we hav a USC guy in the booth for the first place. To me it wAS ALWAYS A SLAP IN THE FACE. Some times it looked like he would get personal ectasy, from us losing!

    1. Erik – I agree 100%!! It would be like Tom Brady going to the booth after retirement and broadcasting Ohio State home games exclusively!

      Great rid of all the bad karma and start fresh. It’s a new era of ND football!

    2. Erik:

      Amen! YES! Finally, somebody else gets it! Haden loved to root against ND under his breath. Anybody with a pulse and a brain could sense that. Good riddance, I say. You all seem way more informed about possible replacements than me, so I’ll stay out of that. Keep the suggestions coming, though. Good stuff, kinsmen!

  8. NBC needs someone who truely knows the team and its history. The play-by-play with Pagna and Roberts was one of a kind. Hammonds and Haden was a joke.
    When an opponent scored a touchdown, I could’ve sworn that they got more excited about that then an Irish touchdown.

    Aaron Taylor and Allen Pinkett
    Mike Golic and Tony Roberts
    Raghib Ismial and Jerome Bettis (wait – they migh terminate the NBC contract after the first game)
    Mirko Jurovic and Reggie Brooks

  9. Everyone is missing the obvious replacement .. it should be Bob Costas. It’s NBC he is their main guy. It would be the perfect match.

      1. Costas is no longer a sportscaster. He’s a newscaster and way too opinionated to be in that position. We need a solid, polished play-by-play guy and an ex-Doomer for the color commentary.

  10. This is good news!! Hopefully we get rid of Hammond and start fresh. We need to remove the bad karma from the program and this is another way to do that.

    After reading many articles on this, why is no one mentioning Don Criqui?? He has plenty of TV experience and worked for NBC in the past. I love his voice and think he and Beuerlein would be a solid combination. We would have home field advantage back in the booth again! But please – stop with the Jerome Bettis and Tony Roberts requests!!

    1. I agree. I think Hammond and Hayden both suck. It’s amateur hour w/ those two.
      Move on and get some talent.

  11. If NBC is reading this….PLEASE get rid of Tom Hammond!!! Isn’t there a anti-Tom Hammond website somewhere??? It worked for Tyrone Losingham.

    How about Tony Roberts and Allen Pinkett!!

      1. I prefer to mute the tv and put on the Westwood One radio broadcast. I love Tony and Allen together!

  12. Frank,

    “Fair and Balanced” ???

    Isn’t that what they say over at Fox news?

    It sounds like a Presidential Debate.

    I understand that you want to show a level of respect for the visiting team. But isn’t broadcasting ND games all about “Ratings”. Isn’t NBC trying to sell ND football and the ND product accross the country? A little more excitement and enthusiam on our home broadcasts would go a long way in acheving that goal. I think that this would be especially true during the down years.
    (And it certainly couldn’t hurt our recruiting efforts)

  13. I’m not happy nor am I sad that Pat Haden has left the booth. It really doesn’t have anything to do with the team. Talking about a replacement is fun though.

    Steve Beuerlein was one of the first names that popped into my head when I heard the news. He has booth experience and that should be a pre-requisite to getting the job.

    Bob Davie is another name, he has the booth experience, but maybe the scars from his ND coaching experience haven’t healed yet. He might want to leave ESPN/ABC because he seems to be getting less and less important games. Example the ND vs. UW game two seasons ago and the various 3rd or 4th important SEC or ACC contest every week.

    Lou Holtz: Errr maybe not

    Jerome Bettis: I can’t take him seriously

    Joe Theismann: Been doing the NFL for too long. College game might cramp his style. Plus does anyone really like him that much?

  14. I never realized the emotions were mixed on Pat Hayden. I actually really liked him as a color commentator. I forget if it was last season or the season prior, but he had missed some games and I missed him during that absence. Sorry to hear that he will no longer be a part of the ND home team crew but looking forward to see who will replace him.

  15. Finally, some corrective action from USC. All good changes, yet don’t expect anything positive from Carroll and Bush. Hopefully, USC’s house cleaning continues along with insuring rule compliance and we will indeed be heading towards a level playing field. Only the positive test of time will tell.

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