In another case of a network using an active player for a broadcast role, Fox Sports will have Indianapolis Colts backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in the broadcast booth today. He’ll join the team of Chris Myers, Ronde Barber and Jennifer Hale for the St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals game at 4:05 p.m. ET. Granted, the game will be sent to just a handful of markets, Albuquerque, Denver, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego and St. Louis, but it still marks another network deciding to use a current player in a role usually reserved for ex-jocks.
CBS Sports/Showtime hired Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall for weekly appearances on Inside the NFL. Marshall’s hiring raised some eyebrows among some observers wondering if he could remain focused on his day job with the Bears.
In Hasselbeck’s case, the Colts have the week off and he’ll return to the team next week where he can hold a tablet and listen to the signals given to Andrew Luck. As far as we know, this is the first time where an NFL television partner has tapped a current player to be a game analyst.
And Hasselbeck is not the only current player who will be seen in front of the camera this week as a guest analyst. Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson joins the Fox NFL Sunday studio crew to discuss the week’s action with Curt Menefee, Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long and Michael Strahan.
Jackson’s teammate, safety Ryan Clark will be in Bristol today as he will be a guest analyst for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown.
Networks have invited players to their pregame shows when their teams have a bye. Some have parlayed their guest appearances into full-time gigs after their playing careers end (i.e., Strahan). For Clark, he has been on ESPN for the past two seasons so there is the possibility that he is thinking beyond his playing days.
But as we turn this full circle back to Hasselbeck, he would join his brother Tim who is already an ESPN analyst. Perhaps this is an audition for Matt as Fox looks for new talent for the 2015 season. We’ll see how he does later today.