The idea of current players serving as analysts has gained some traction in the NFL, with Jets’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall working for Showtime since 2014 and Redskins’ cornerback Josh Norman joining Fox this year, and now NFL Media is taking it to a different level: athlete as interviewer. NFL Media announced this week that Denver Broncos’ linebacker DeMarcus Ware will be hosting a digital interview series for them this season, talking to both other current players and other people who are important to him:
Premiering Monday, September 5 and airing each week during the 2016 NFL season on NFL Now, Talk NOW is a weekly talk show in which DeMarcus will talk with current players from around the league, as well as individuals who have a unique impact on his life and his in-season routine.
“DeMarcus is one of the most respected players in the game, so when he talks with other current players in-season, the conversation will be unlike what fans see anywhere else,” said Michael Mandt, NFL Media’s Executive Producer of Original Content. “He also has a variety of interests that we’re thrilled to showcase through this content, which will be produced in a way that’s extremely time efficient. We’re appreciative of his passion to do this, as well as the support of the Broncos.”
“I’m excited to take the helmet off and let people see it’s not the mold of the pads that makes who you are, but the unmasking of the person underneath that makes a man,” said Ware.
In addition to airing on NFL Now during the season, Talk NOW will also be distributed on the NFL’s various digital, social and network platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Every episode of Talk NOW will be available on-demand on the NFL’s YouTube page, and clips from episodes will air on various NFL Network studio shows.
Super Bowl 50 MVP and Broncos teammate Von Miller joins DeMarcus on the premiere episode on Monday, September 5.
NFL Now is the league’s personalized digital channel, rolled into the main NFL Mobile app and other digital properties last fall, and also available on the web at nfl.com/now and on connected-TV apps for Xbox One and Apple TV. It will be interesting to see how this goes. Making a current player an interviewer is certainly a notable idea, and Ware has an impressive resume and should get plenty of respect from his subjects.
This has also worked in other arenas. Yahoo NBA site The Vertical has seen some positive results from its J.J. Redick-hosted podcast, which often incorporates player interviews and is part of the Vertical Podcast Network programming picked up by Sirius XM earlier this summer. Interviewing takes some chops to get the most out of your subjects, though, and it’s not a skill everyone has. We’ll see how Ware does with this.