ESPN hands Rush the ball

Limbaugh to provide fan p.o.v., challenge commentators

NEW YORK — Rush Limbaugh will be expounding on a different sort of strong right formations.

Conservative yakker will join ESPN’s preview program “NFL Countdown” to provide a fan’s point of view. Limbaugh will debut Sept. 4, before the season opener between the Washington Redskins and the New York Jets. He joins skein’s regular team of analysts, NFL alums Steve Young, Michael Irvin and Tom Jackson.

Limbaugh will offer opinions at the beginning of the telecast each week. In addition, he will have three opportunities to challenge his fellow analysts in discussion each week.

“Rush is a great communicator and a fan’s fan,” said Mark Shapiro, net’s exec VP of programming and production. “His acute sense of what’s on the minds of his listeners, combined with ability to entertain and serve as a lightning rod for lively discussion, makes him the perfect fit for this new role.”

“Football is like life, and I know life,” Limbaugh said.

This is not the host’s first brush with football commentary. In 2000, Limbaugh auditioned for a spot on ABC’s “Monday Night Football” but lost out to Dennis Miller.

Limbaugh’s radio show is available in 650 markets worldwide.