A bizarre situation unfolded on Friday night during ESPN2’s broadcast of the BYU-Toledo college-football game in Provo, Utah, when color commentator Mack Brown announced early in the fourth quarter that he was leaving the game to go catch a flight.
The scene happened with about 11 minutes left in the game after Toledo had just taken a 45-42 lead.
Brown, the long-time head coach at the University of Texas, is scheduled to work as a studio analyst on Saturday at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. As Brown notes in the video below, “it’s already past midnight in Bristol.” It was actually 1:25 a.m. on the East Coast when Brown left.
Brown’s partner, Adam Amin seems genuinely surprised that Brown is actually going to leave.
“Apparently Mack’s gotta leave us right now otherwise you won’t see [his] shining face on TV tomorrow,” Amin said. “We’re going to miss you, pal, I guess. You sure you don’t want to stick around for the last of this thing?”
Making the situation even more ridiculous is that Brown left the game about 3 hours and 10 minutes after the game started. College football games rarely last less than 3.5 hours and it is more common for the games to last four hours than three. In addition, a game featuring two high-powered offenses never had a chance of being over early.
This suggests that Brown planned to leave the game early all along.
Amin called the final 10+ minutes of the game by himself, with the assistance of sideline reporter Molly McGrath. It was certainly not ideal. Immediately after Brown leaves the booth, the first thing you hear in the video below (at the 1:01 mark) is seven seconds of silence.
BYU eventually won the game 55-53 with a field goal on the final play of the game. What a mess.