Ever since the embarrassing display CBS put on at Super Bowl XLVII, it's been well-documented that a growing number of football fans are tired of the cliché-riddled, phoned-in analysis we're receiving from former athletes trying to linger in the spotlight by taking disgusting sums of money to add nothing of substance to NFL studio shows. For well-stated perspectives, take a look at what Drew Magary and Will Leitch had to say on the issue last week.
Do people really care what Michael Irvin, Warren Sapp and Shannon Sharpe have to say? Wouldn't you rather get unique, strongly-researched perspectives from men who actually put in the time to craft their opinions on the league, its teams and its players? That's why, in a perfect world, we'd replace these guys…
1. Shannon Sharpe
2. Bill Cowher
3. Dan Marino
4. Deion Sanders
5. Warren Sapp
6. Michael Irvin
7. Howie Long
8. Jimmy Johnson
9. Terry Bradshaw
10. Mike Ditka
11. Keyshawn Johnson
12. Tom Jackson
13. Cris Carter
With these guys…
1. Neil Hornsby: The Pro Football Focus founder has led a revolution regarding the way we analyze players and has made it easier to quantify the success (or lack thereof) players are having at all positions on the field. That kind of in-depth and specific analysis could provide more insight in minutes than all the current network pregame shows combined.
2. Mike Tanier: The Football Outsiders contributor is another hard-working football stats geek who works hard and offers a witty take on the game – much wittier than Shannon Sharpe thinks he brings to the table.
4. Gregg Rosenthal: Why, when so many fans are tuning in almost entirely for fantasy football purposes, are there hardly any fantasy experts on the mainstream NFL studio shows? Let's change that with Rosenthal, who began his career at Rotoworld and now manages Around the League for NFL.com. In fact, he predicted the Super Bowl final score (Ravens 34, 49ers 31) exactly correct.
5. Pete Prisco: Not only does the CBSSports.com columnist know the game better than the vast majority of football writers, but he always tells it like it is with a blunt honesty that's missing on most networks.
6. Bill Barnwell: The Grantland contributor has one of the freshest voices and the brightest football minds in the current sports media environment. He would add a new perspective to ESPN's NFL coverage aside from the 72 ex-players and coaches analyzing the game on their airwaves.
You'll notice that column A has more names than column B, and that's deliberate. Let's be real. When it comes to NFL talking heads, less is more.