Now that the NFL regular season is over, it’s time to take a look back at the 15 programs we watched over a period of 17 weeks. First, watching NFL pregame shows took a lot of energy. Second, it took a couple of weeks to map out which shows would be watched when. And third, our conclusion is to watch only at your leisure, but if you do, watch in moderation, do not watch an entire show in one sitting, unless you have a family member being in a feature or if you have a family member on the show’s cast.
Final Sunday Studio Show Rankings
Red Zone Channel (DirecTV): A+
Fantasy Football Now (ESPN2/ESPNews): A
NFL Total Access Kickoff/Thursday Night Kickoff (CBS/NFL Network): B+
Fox NFL Sunday (Fox): B+
NFL Matchup (ESPN): B
NFL GameDay Morning (NFL Network): B
That Other Pregame Show (CBS Sports Network): B
Fantasy Zone Channel (DirecTV): B-
Fox NFL Kickoff (Fox Sports 1): B-
NFL GameDay Final (NFL Network): B-
Football Night in America (NBC): C+
NFL GameDay First (NFL Network): C+
The NFL Today (CBS): C
Sunday NFL Countdown (ESPN): C-
NFL GameDay Live (NFL Network): D-
Let’s go over the Best and the Worsts among the studio shows this season:
BEST HOSTS — James Brown (NFL Today and Thursday Night Football), Rich Eisen (NFL GameDay Morning), Dan Patrick (Football Night in America), Andrew Siciliano (DirecTV’s Red Zone Channel)
These four men were among the best of the hosts. JB had a true studio program with the NFL Today and got to be out in the field every week for Thursday Night Football. It’s not easy having to do both, but he makes it look effortless. That’s the sign of a very good host.
Rich Eisen looks like he’s enjoying hosting NFL GameDay Morning and having plenty of fun on the set.
Dan Patrick does a good job in doing the highlights on FNIA.
Andrew Siciliano is perfect in the traffic cop role taking us from game-to-game on Red Zone Channel.
WORST HOST — Chris Rose (NFL GameDay Final)
Rose often gets steamrolled by his cast consisting of Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders and allows them to talk over him while he’s doing highlights! There’s no control and often, Rose just allows them to run amok. That’s not good. Rose is not a good studio host.
BEST SHOWS — Fantasy Football Now (ESPN2) and Red Zone Channel (DirecTV)
The best shows are the ones that just talk about football, don’t have people yelling or pounding the table. You actually learn something from watching Fantasy Football Now which is rare in the studio show genre. Red Zone Channel has the perfect mix of humor and game action.
Both shows received “A” grades and they were highly deserved. The networks could learn something from taking a no-nonsense approach.
WORST SHOW — NFL GameDay Live
This received a D- and failed as a Red Zone Lite. We didn’t say this in our actual review, but the show made us fall asleep and that’s not good when you’re trying to review a program. Yes, NFL Network made it so the show can’t show live cut-ins and that severely restricts this program.
BEST SEGMENTS — Medical Information and Good Features
Stephania Bell on Fantasy Football Now is one of the best to talk about injuries as well. It’s all fantastic to watch and to listen. You can actually learn new information from these segments.
Another very good segment came from Jim Trotter on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown who reported on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown signing Terrible Towels and other items as a promise to fans during training camp. And he received a medal from an Army soldier stationed in Hawaii and served two tours of duty in the Republic of Korea. Strong stuff.
WORST SEGMENTS — Feigned Debate, Picks and Sumo Wrestling
It’s never good when shows use debate just to fill time. In the longer studio shows such as NFL GameDay Morning and Sunday NFL Countdown, you have a tendency for silly segments.
Sunday NFL Countdown had a Sport Science segment using sumo wrestlers to show LeSean McCoy’s acceleration and speed. It ended with Keyshawn Johnson and Adam Schefter adorned in sumo wrestling outfits that left our mouths wide open. Bizarre.
And there were picks that just went awry as demonstrated when the NFL GameDay Morning panel tried to pick the Patriots-Broncos game.
STANDOUT PERFORMERS — Jay Glazer, Wendi Nix, Adam Schefter, Amy Trask
Two out of the four are NFL Insiders, but Amy Trask is very good in her role with That Other Pregame Show.
From Sunday NFL Countdown — Cris Carter on Jim Harbaugh’s next move: “I believe that Harbaugh realizes he is a pro coach and is going to stay in pro football.”
From NFL GameDay Final — Deion Sanders talking about Arizona backup quarterback Drew Stanton: “I’m not crazy about Drew Stanton, but I like Drew Stanton.”
From That Other Pregame Show — Brandon Tierney on the Buffalo Bills fans tailgating starting on Fridays: “The reason why they tailgate on Friday is so that when Sunday rolls around, they forget what happens.”
And also from That Other Pregame Show — London Fletcher on Tom Brady and the Patriots: “Miami’s defensive line totally dominated New England’s offensive line. They were atrocious. Brady was under attack all game long and if it continues the way this first game started, he may not make it through the season. They may have to get their backup quarterback ready.”
Finally, from NFL Total Access Kickoff — Marshall Faulk on the AFC playoff picture: “I believe it will be the Steelers will be on the outside looking in.”
Overall, the studio shows are harmless, but with some of them lasting four hours, there’s no way that anyone in his or her right mind should watch it all. However, there is some quality, but there is also a lot of silliness and unnecessary segments.
We’re not sure we’re better for having watched all of these shows, but one thing is for sure, we’re going to be outside when the shows return in earnest in 2015.