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Joe Buck and Troy Aikman signal a return to big-time TV for ‘Monday Night Football’

Russell Wilson to Denver.

Carson Wentz to Washington.

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to “Monday Night Football.”

ESPN made one of the biggest moves of the offseason, snagging Fox’s No. 1 announcing team in another attempt to return the long-running NFL prime-time broadcast to its former glory.

Buck’s annual salary will be in the neighborhood of $15 million and Aikman’s might be $2 million to $3 million higher, according to multiple media reports. The New York Post reports both deals are for five years.

Peyton and Eli Manning also will return with their alternate broadcast of the “MNF” game on ESPN2.

Buck and Aikman will replace the three-man booth of Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese (2020-21), which replaced play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore (2018-19) and color analysts Jason Witten (2018) and Booger McFarland (2018-19).

While the “MNF” booth seems to have had a revolving door in recent years, this move seems different.

This time, the show isn’t reaching, as it did by bringing in guys such as Tony Kornheiser or Dennis Miller in the past. And the viewers aren’t going to have to witness a bunch of guys thrown together for the first time and getting to know each other on the air.

Instead, they’re getting Buck and Aikman, two well-respected broadcasters who are entering their third decade of calling NFL games together. While it might not be a return to the glory years of Frank Gifford, Don Meredith and Howard Cosell, the new booth seems to signal a return to the big time for the 52-year-old program.

“My earliest memories of walking around football stadiums are tagging along with my dad as he called ‘Monday Night Football’ on radio,” Buck said in a statement.

“To return to the stadium on Monday nights with Troy — who I have the utmost comfort with and confidence in — and begin a new chapter, for us and ESPN, has me excited about this season and our future.”

Aikman tweeted: “Like most kids of my generation, I grew up watching MNF w Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell & my mom’s favorite Don Meredith so you can only imagine my excitement to be part of the legacy of MNF & continue working w Joe Buck, my broadcast partner for the last 20 years!”



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