ESPN has been making waves this offseason with the addition of several former NFL players and coaches to add to their prodigious stable of analysts.  This time, ESPN has gone to the well of former players for the greatest wide receiver of all-time, Jerry Rice.  Rice is the biggest name addition to an evergrowing list of ESPN NFL analysts to take their talents to Bristol.  Richard Deitsch broke the news

The network has hired Jerry Rice as an analyst, has learned. The formal announcement will be made later this week.

Rice will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter and ESPN’s Audibles show, which will air weekly this fall on Thursday nights. On Audibles, Rice will be reunited with his former Niners quarterback Steve Young. He is scheduled to start at ESPN on Sept. 15 and will be based on the West Coast.

The Hall of Famer’s sports media experience includes co-hosting Sports Sunday on NBC Bay Area after 49ers games last season. He has served as an analyst for BBC Television’s coverage of the NFL and co-hosted an afternoon show on Sirius NFL Radio.

Great players aren’t always great analysts.  Joe Montana and Emmitt Smith quickly come to mind as all-time great players that didn’t have what was needed to succeed on television.  Rice can at least speak in sentences, which should put him ahead of Emmitt Smith already.  I had no idea about his prior experience working for the BBC either, so he isn’t a full-fledged rookie.  Seeing as how he will be “based on the West Coast,” I can envision him contributing to the LA SportsCenter on a regular basis.

Rice immediately becomes the most accomplished of the NFL analysts at the leader in terms of on-field achievements.  Looking at the big picture, one has to wonder if there is enough TV time for all of these ex-players and coaches.  Seriously, there has never been a bigger collection of television talent in one particular field on one network.  ESPN could almost fill an entire 53 man roster!  There are hundreds of hours ESPN needs to fill in a day, but this list is just preposterously huge.  These are the NFL analysts listed on ESPN’s website and those we know have just been added to the arsenal…

Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson, Keyshawn Johnson, Matt Millen, Steve Young, Eric Allen, Tedy Bruschi, Trent Dilfer, Mike Golic, Herm Edwards, Tim Hasselbeck, Merril Hoge, Antonio Pierce, Mark Schlereth, Marcellus WIly, Darren Woodson, Andrew Brandt, Lomas Brown, Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Jon Ritchie, Kordell Stewart, Ross Tucker, Damien Woody, Hugh Douglas, Eric Mangini, Jerry Rice, The San Diego Chicken, Red Grange, Rich Kotite, This Guy, He Hate Me, Leon Taylor, Rex Ryan, Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder and Terry Tate, Office Linebacker

Of course, there may be one too many names on that list, but at this point it’s hard to keep track…

[Sports Illustrated]

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.