After a quarter century at ESPN, longtime reporter Sal Paolantonio is going to try something new Sunday.
He will be a game analyst on ESPN Radio’s national broadcast of the Jets and Giants. It could be the first of many as it is part of Paolantonio’s just signed, new three-year deal with ESPN.
“I just thought it would be a cool idea,” Paolantonio, 63, told The Post.
In New York, fans will still hear Bob Wischusen and Marty Lyons on 98.7 FM, but around the country Paolantonio will give it a whirl, alongside play-by-player Mark Kestecher.
As part of his new contract, Paolantonio asked ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson if he could do the games.
Though it is possible to report on TV, including spots for “Countdown” then the postgame, Williamson and ESPN VP Seth Markman thought it would be wise just to focus on the radio for the initial one.
In the past, he has done radio sideline on games on the same day he does TV reports. That is a lot, but being an analyst is more.
“I don’t think I could do TV and the booth,” Paolantonio said.
Sunday TV day begins at 7 a.m., taping in the 8 o’clock hour, live at 9 and throughout the morning into the 1 p.m. games. After doing sideline radio, a reporter does post-game interviews and live shots.
“I want to see if I can do this booth thing first,” Paolantonio said about tackling both in one day.
Paolantonio’s contract will take him until 66, and he is not sure what he will do after that.
“I don’t know,” Paolantonio said when asked how long he wants to keep working at ESPN. “I’m super blessed to have this long of a career at ESPN. It is quite amazing when you think about it. Going from being a beat reporter at a newspaper to having a 25-year plus career on television.”
Paolantonio, who grew up in Long Island, went to Oneonta State for pre-law. He joined the newspaper and the radio station.
“And that was that,” Paolantonio said. “In ’74, it was the height of the Watergate scandal and I was like, ‘I want to be a reporter.’ I was a definite Watergate baby. No question.”
At the Philadelphia Inquirer, he was a longtime hard news reporter, specializing in politics. In 1993, he reluctantly moved over to cover the Eagles. After two years, ESPN called and now he will be doing analysis in the booth on Sunday.