When the long-running NFL Films series Inside the NFL landed at The CW following stints at HBO, Showtime, and Paramount+, it was expected they would be seeking a new cast. In 2023, Inside the NFL will be hosted by ESPN’s Ryan Clark, who will be joined by analyst Channing Crowder, Jay Cutler, Chad Johnson and Chris Long.
The CW apparently tried to recruit some other analysts but were blocked from doing so, according to The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand. Citing sources, Marchand reported that both Greg Olsen and Mark Ingram II could have been on The CW’s Inside the NFL, but Fox wasn’t as inclined as ESPN was to share their talents with other networks.
ESPN seemingly had no problem with letting Clark host The CW’s version of Inside the NFL, even though he just expanded his role on the network. Clark will be featured on Monday Night Countdown each week, while also making daily appearances on NFL Live.
Fox didn’t see that in the same light, however. As Marchand wrote, “Fox Sports executives’ point of view is they are paying their top guys a lot of money, so they don’t feel the need to share them.”
Olsen, who is a part of Fox’s No. 1 announcing team with Kevin Burkhardt, will remain with the network for now. Fox and Tom Brady agreed to a $375 million contract in 2022 to be the network’s top analyst after he retires. And while pushing his Fox debut off until 2024 didn’t do much to quiet the skepticism, on the season premiere of his Let’s Go podcast for SiriusXM, Brady reiterated that Fox remains in his plans. With that, Olsen said that Fox has yet to inform him of its plans for 2024 and beyond.
As for Ingram, he’s the newest member of Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff, replacing Reggie Bush in his current capacity. In the first few weeks of the 2023 college football season, Ingram had a special horseback entrance for his Big Noon Kickoff debut, was surprised by his former head coach Nick Saban, truck sticked a YouTuber and was almost talked into eating Rocky Mountain Oysters live on set.
It’s been an eventful season for Ingram and it certainly seems like it will be one for Olsen. So it’s somewhat understandable why Fox Sports would block both of them from appearing on another network. At the same time, it is a bit ironic that it’s now Fox blocking talent from outside appearances; ESPN used to take fire for that even over spots on competitors’ radio shows, but reversed that policy in 2021 after Pat McAfee aired his grievances.