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Shannon Sharpe to Debate Stephen A. on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ Twice Weekly

Shannon Sharpe will square off against Stephen A. Smith on Mondays and Tuesdays on the ESPN debate program during football season, The Post has learned.

Well, I think everyone saw this coming. After Shannon Sharpe’s abrupt departure from FS1’s Undisputed, many fans of the show hypothesized a partnership with Skip Bayless’ former debate partner, Stephen A. Smith, was a likely outcome.

While it’s not exactly as envisioned – namely that Sharpe will not be a permanent host, but rather a part of Stephen A.’s rotating door of guests – it’s still a predictable outcome.

I think this is a huge win for ESPN, way more so than Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe’s podcast, Club Shay Shay, is quite good, but returning to cable television is something he needs to supplement that audience and show. Would he be fine either way? Yes, of course. ESPN, however, is about to go viral every Monday and Tuesday when Sharpe gets on the air. You now have two individuals who have played the role of Skip Bayless’ debate partner teaming up. There will be hooting and there will be hollering.

Most importantly, I think having Shannon Sharpe on will force Stephen A. to sharpen up (haha) his football knowledge, and will hold him accountable for his takes. When debating the NFL, he’s been known to occasionally forget what players are on what teams or who is playing who (not often, but it has happened).

Similarly, Sharpe is going to be able to focus on the sport that he made the Hall of Fame playing, rather than diverting his attention to a multitude of topics to fill out a debate show. Iron sharpens iron, as they say.

Believe this: that first show will be must see TV.

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