One of the jokes in the Awful Announcing offices is how many NFL analysts ESPN has under its employ. We’ve facetiously said the current number is at 300, but it seems to be growing. And the network seems to be looking at the next generation of analysts in a new article on ESPN.com, “Who’s the next Romo or Cutler — in the broadcasting booth?”
The article chooses one player from each team and makes cases for each of them.. There are some obvious choices like Houston’s J.J. Watt, Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots, Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns and Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals.
As we’ve seen, networks like to hire quarterbacks and this list has its share. There are cases mad for Chad Henne of the Jacksonville Jaguars (“He may not be as effusive or lively on television as other players, but he’ll put in the work …”), Philip Rivers of the Chargers (“The 14-year pro also has a photographic memory and an ability to describe the complexities of football in a simple way that would endear him to viewers.”), the Raiders’ Derek Carr (“… he has shown he has a gift for gab in his weekly media sessions.”), and Matt Ryan of the Falcons (“As a quarterback and a guy who has played under four offensive coordinators, Ryan certainly has a broad knowledge of the game.”)
There are some out of the box suggestions like Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett (“He’d have to clean up his language — he admitted ‘I like to swear'”), punter Johnny Hekker of the Los Angeles Rams (“the best talker on the team”), and safety Will Blackmon of Washington (“Blackmon is one of the smarter players in the locker room, communicates well — two necessary TV traits — and has long studied game tape for positions other than his own…”).
The article certainly has some intriguing choices and ESPN can’t hire every man on this list, but as long as it has NFL rights, maybe it will try.