Fox Sports has added yet another analyst, presumably mostly for their debate shows, but their new hire is yet another NFL analyst, and they’ve brought him in just weeks before the NFL season ends with Super Bowl LI. Their newest addition is Greg Jennings, the former receiver for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Miami Dolphins, and they’re thrilled to have him:
“We’ve been fortunate to have Greg on as a guest across many of our studio shows and have been incredibly impressed by his insight and ability to speak on a wide variety of topics,” said Whit Albohm, Vice President, Daily Studio Production for FS1. “His lengthy playing career and deep connections to the NFL make him an incredible asset to our team, and we are thrilled to have him at FOX Sports.”
…During his playing career, Jennings dipped a toe into television, appearing on episodes of Criminal Minds, Royal Pains and The League, in addition to traditional sports television outlets. Following his retirement, Jennings began making regular appearances on a variety of sports shows, including FS1’s UNDISPUTED, where his insightful analysis established an immediate rapport with co-hosts Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, as well as moderator Joy Taylor.
“I am very excited to join the FOX Sports family,” said Jennings. “They’ve built a talented and creative group of people, from executives to on-air personalities, with a shared mindset of creating great programming for viewers.”
Here’s Jennings’ appearance on Undisputed Tuesday, where Skip Bayless announced his hire:
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) January 24, 2017
Jennings joins a deep roster of NFL analysts at Fox Sports. Ones who make regular appearances on FS1 debate shows include former players/former ESPN analysts Cris Carter and Ray Lewis, former coach/ESPN analyst Eric Mangini and former personnel executive/NFL Network analyst Michael Lombardi. Others listed on Fox’s bios page as just “NFL analyst” (discounting the “FOX NFL Sunday analysts) include Ronde Barber, Charles Davis, David Diehl, Daryl Johnston, Shawne Merriman, and Dave Wannstedt (“NFL and college football analyst”).
Most of the above are focused on Sunday NFL appearances on the main Fox network, but many of them (and many of the FOX NFL Sunday analysts too) have shown up on FS1 programming as well. Original FS1 athlete panel veteran Ephraim Salaam isn’t listed there, but his Twitter bio still says “Current Fox Sports 1 Broadcaster,” so he may be available too. That’s a crowded environment for Jennings to be stepping into, and it will be interesting to see how he’s able to differentiate himself.
The timing may be the most notable part of this, though. Yes, Jennings has already been making some guest appearances, but bringing him on staff with just two weeks before the Super Bowl feels odd. There will absolutely be room for him over the next two weeks, especially with all the programming Fox plans to air live from Houston (expect him to be a guest on much of it, along with their other NFL analysts), but what are they going to have him do in the offseason? Granted, there will still be NFL talk, especially when it comes to free agency, the draft, other offseason moves and so on, but won’t the likes of Lombardi and Mangini be much more qualified to discuss those elements of the game?
Also, how much camera time can Jennings get, especially given the deep lineup of NFL people FS1 has and their lack of news shows to put them on? It’s not like receivers’ perspectives are missing, either; Carter presumably offers that, as Undisputed co-host Shannon Sharpe, and both are higher-profile personalities than Jennings is at this point. Maybe Jennings has some hot takes to drop, and maybe he can become a regular Embrace Debate star, but at the moment, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious offseason role for him. It will certainly be interesting to watch and see what they do with him.