Aqib Talib Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Have we overdone it with the Aqib Talib coverage here at Awful Announcing this week? Sure, maybe. And based on comments and Twitter responses, the reception for Talib’s debut during Week 10’s Washington-Lions game was rather mixed.

But how often do we get to see (and hear) a player who retired less than three months ago make his broadcast debut on an NFL game? If Talib sticks with broadcasting and Fox decides he warrants future assignments, viewers will get to follow his development and evolution in the booth.

Will Talib get better? Will he keep leaning on some of the verbal tics that some fans found annoying in his first telecast? Will his voice and delivery always bother some viewers? Will he maintain the excitement that many fans found refreshing? Can he stay unconventional in his analysis or will he become more refined as he does more games?

Coming off his broadcast debut, Talib appeared on PodcastOne’s The Michael Irvin Podcast this week to talk to the Hall of Fame wide receiver and NFL Network analyst about information overload and adjustments he made during the telecast.

“I had a producer talking in one ear, I had the game in the other ear,” said Talib. “All these screens in front of me, monitors everywhere. Mind you, I did my audition for Fox, I did it during the pandemic. So I did it during a Zoom call in my entertainment room.”

Obviously, that’s not a different experience than any broadcaster goes through. And those familiar with sports media and broadcasting know that a producer talking in your ear while providing on-air analysis is part of the job. But it’s a reminder of what an unusual scenario that would be for many people. It’s not just watching the game and talking.

Those who didn’t enjoy Talib’s commentary might say that “watching the game and talking” was exactly what he did. His analysis was relayed in a conversational style that sounded more like watching the game with friends rather than providing insight into the action.

Talib admitted to Irvin that he needs to express himself more clearly without relying on verbal filler to make up for thoughts trying to catch up with what to say on the broadcast.

“I gotta get out the ‘mans’ and the ‘uhs,'” Talib said. “‘Man, man, man,’ ‘Uh, uh, uh.’ I gotta get them out. Once I get them out, I think that’s my next step. My next game, that’s gonna be my goal. Don’t say ‘man, don’t say ‘uh.’ That’d be a great step for me.”

Anybody who listened to Talib call the Washington-Lions game with Dan Hellie would surely agree with that, whether you enjoyed his commentary or not. And even if you find Irvin and Talib difficult to listen to on this podcast, they both offer some intriguing insight into tendencies that we all fall into when talking, the unnecessary language that needs to be eliminated when broadcasting for a cleaner delivery.

We don’t yet know when Talib will return to the Fox booth for another NFL telecast. It’s not likely to happen this season. But maybe he’ll get more off-air reps and show improvement the next time he calls a game. If not. maybe Talib doesn’t have a future in broadcasting. But coming off one telecast, he definitely showed promise.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.