Earlier this year (it seems like it was four years ago), CBS made the surprise announcement that it was dumping long-time NFL analyst Dan Fouts and replacing him with Charles Davis of Fox. Davis had been a college football and NFL analyst on Fox for a combined 14 seasons and he told Awful Announcing in May that he felt it was time to jump networks. As he was with the NFL on Fox from 2017-2019, Davis will be part of the “B” announcing team, this time partnered with the venerable Ian Eagle and field reporter Evan Washburn.
During the NFL on CBS Media Day conference call Tuesday, Davis told a gaggle of media and NFL beat writers that he did not take changing networks very lightly. He said it would be the “same as anyone else changing jobs. You get to know the people that are there, you’re appreciative of the opportunity and you go to work. You start to learn everyone that you’re going to work with.”
Davis said he met Eagle about a decade ago at a Green Bay-Atlanta playoff game in January 2011 that Eagle was calling for radio. “I got introduced to [Eagle] by a mutual friend. I remember walking away, and I told her, ‘If I could work with Ian Eagle one day, that would be pretty cool’ and here we are.”
Eagle said he, Davis, and Washburn had been together on weekly Zoom calls throughout the spring developing their chemistry for the broadcast booth. “That was our chemistry boot camp. So we’re going to test the boundaries of Zoom. It does feel as if we know one another, we know about each other’s families, and that’s really where chemistry forms. Of course, it’s eventually going to form in the broadcast booth, but at this point, I could be doing a game with Charles, he could be a hologram and we would do the game and do it well. It’s been terrific getting to know him, and to actually see him in Week 1 is going to feel a little different and unique.
Davis said in addition to Zoom calls with Eagle and Washburn, he’s had online meetings with team producer Mark Wolff and director Bob Fishman. “I’ve called all of them and Zoomed with all of them individually. Just so they can get to know me and I can start to get to know them.”
Davis also received high praise from fellow CBS analyst Tony Romo on the call. “Charles, you don’t know this, but for people out there, when I was studying and trying to figure out broadcasting, I actually studied Charles Davis. You’re really, really, good. Sean [CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus], David [CBS Sports president David Berson], for you guys to bring him in, that’s unbelievable. I think he’s as talented out there as the top two or three guys by far. I think, Charles, you’re really, really good. And I try to study other announcers, but a lot of the stuff I use, without you knowing, I’ve stolen it from you. So good job, and I’m glad you’re on our team.”
Davis will not be a one-trick pony for CBS. As he told our Shlomo Sprung in May, Davis will appear not just on the NFL on CBS, but he will also make appearances on CBS Sports Network, CBS Sports HQ and on the network’s golf coverage. He said it made sense for him to move to CBS from Fox.
And as for moving to a well-established team, Davis said he was given a warning by none other than his father, an 80-year old retired teacher and coach, “He said to me when I got the job, ‘congratulations, aren’t you joining Ian Eagle’s team?'” Davis said yes and he said his father replied, “‘They’re really good, you’re the only piece that is going to be different so if anything goes wrong we know where that came from.'” So in other words, his father was jokingly telling him not to mess things up.
If Davis has anything to do with it, he’ll maintain the high quality of the CBS “B” team that had become popular among fans. Eagle, Davis and Washburn will make their 2020 season debut on the Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens game this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. They’ll also be assigned one of the AFC Wild Card playoff games in January.