Former NFL defensive tackle Booger McFarland tends to stick out. His hilarious nickname immediately draws attention. His gaffe-filled, short-lived run on Monday Night Football made him famous all over again, albeit for all the wrong reasons. McFarland is always the center of attention for one reason or another.
McFarland is back on the air, this time on the radio. That’s where people surely won’t get a look at the other thing that sticks out about McFarland: his hands. Let’s break down McFarland’s history, both in and out of the broadcast booth and how he got his wacky nickname. Oh, and we’ll also get into what’s up with his fingers.
Booger McFarland’s career and … fingers?
Anthony McFarland became “Booger” McFarland for fairly tame reasons. His mother, annoyed with his rambunctious behavior at home, called him a “booger” and it stuck, according to Athlon Sports. Family and friends joined in, and now millions of sports fans around the country call him that, too.
McFarland is still relevant today in part because of what he did as an active NFL player. If his Pro Football Reference stats are his resume, he has one of the best around. Across eight years, two-time Super Bowl winner racked up 211 combined tackles, 141 solo tackles, and 20 sacks. Not a bad way to win the hearts and minds of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan base.
As for his famously crooked fingers, the story is similarly anodyne. His hands took so much punishment playing in the NFL that they ended up permanently mangled. The NFL, more than any other league, leaves players with some permanent reminders of their time served more often than not. McFarland is no exception.
McFarland’s hilarious social media antics
McFarland wasn’t a big hit on Monday Night Football, if his short two season tenure is any indication. That isn’t to say he wasn’t liked; many fans enjoyed his fun personality. But just as many, as collated in this Guardian piece, were annoyed with his haphazard analysis.
McFarland often attributed plays to the wrong players. He regularly skipped out on providing analysis of entire sequences. And, most crucially, he was notorious for color commentary that simply described the on-field action in overly simplistic terms.
Fans let him know it via social media. His twitter account took on the criticism from an oblique angle, letting fans know he didn’t care for their opinions. After broadcasts, he’d regularly ignore the torrent of negativity and simply tweet about a good meal, or say something nice about an NFL player. Lately, his Twitter feed has taken a serious turn, in light of current events.
Will McFarland return to ESPN?
As seen in the video above, McFarland is a tough beast to tame. ESPN, who regularly embrace abrasive on-air talent, might be able to find the perfect role for Booger. They haven’t quite hit that point yet, unfortunately.
McFarland wasn’t able to walk the line that, say, John Madden did during his decades of obvious calls from the booth. Monday Night Football tends to bring in a more dedicated crowd than the Sunday broadcasts, so commentary his held to a high standard. Perhaps McFarland could’ve eventually improved his calls. But after Jason Witten so recently failed to garner any appreciation on the same broadcast, Booger had little time to ingratiate himself to viewers.
He is still on contract with ESPN. According to Barrett Sports Media, he is a regular on an ESPN radio station in Tampa. He also makes consistent appearances on ESPN football coverage across their various weekly and daily TV programming. McFarland may have washed out of one of the biggest broadcasting spots in his field, but he’s going to be working in broadcasting for a long time to come.