1) Domonique Foxworth, ESPN
Foxworth has a unique biography among NFL analysts. A former cornerback who played six seasons in the league, earned an MBA from Harvard and served as president of the NFL Players Association.
Few other analysts can move you from the locker room to the boardroom with such efficiency. He has negotiated with Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder. He has dealt with internal fights in the locker room. No one else who has faced those two different worlds offers his assessments with as much humor, insight, and ruthless honesty as Foxworth. One moment he’s explaining why the Chargers prefer to play banjo coverage against stacked formations, the next he’s happy to discuss the decline of the banjo as a top-notch instrument.
A lot of ex-players / coaches turned analysts operate under a code of omertà. They don’t want to reveal trade secrets or criticize too forcefully, just in case they invite them back to the inner sanctuary. Foxworth is happy to explain everybody of the inner workings of the league.
2) Mina Kimes, ESPN
While Foxworth works with a gamer personality turning corporate and rogue, Kimes works in the reverse space. A former business reporter, Kimes brings an objective, intellectual, and numbers-based approach to understanding the game, a rarity among ESPN’s growing line of hot air blowers.
3) Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network
Jeremiah is the NFL’s top internal draft analyst. If X&O is your thing, Jeremiah’s player crashes, TV hits and Move the sticks podcast It will hit all of your soccer erogenous zones. It’s polished and concise, and while the nature of the draft coverage means it’s dripping jargon, Jeremiah refuses to work on cliches.
4) Tony Romo, CBS
Say what you like about Romo’s guessing and lack of polish, his love of the sport is contagious.
There is a growing feeling among the online snark brigade that Romo may have jumped the shark, almost as if he was the local gang that made it great. He’s exhausted, man. Yeah well I saw them when they played Ruffles in ’96.
This accusation tends to improvise the ideas that Romo is not that successful in guessing plays before they are called, that such skill is not all that impressive if an analyst has spent a week studying tapes, and that by being a little more polished in the booth, the holes in his broadcast game have become more exposed.
Has no sense. Just because your style isn’t cool anymore doesn’t mean it’s not your best anymore. The fast-paced, childish act may have gotten tedious for some, but it beats the booth buzz that takes up much of the NFL landscape.
Romo hits the perfect intersection of fan and analyst while calling a game. It can explain why the Broncos are throwing the wrong safety in their Rip-Liz game coverage all they want, but sometimes he just wants to yell ‘wow’ when Patrick Mahomes starts doing Patrick Mahomes stuff.
5) Louis Riddick, ESPN
Riddick is committed to the details. With some analysts, * cough * Rex Ryan * cough *, you get the feeling they either rolled on set ready to make a point for the sake of hot shots or are working their way through segments with little study or preparation. .
Riddick, as you learn as a viewer, is constantly watching the tape to formulate his opinions. And then he’s able to deliver them without ever sinking into the know-it-all tone, look at how smart I am, which can undermine other analysts. It is a tightrope to traverse. With Jon Gruden’s sometimes infectious and sometimes baffling antics absent from Monday Night Football for the foreseeable future, Riddick is ESPN’s best hope of building a long-term broadcast component – the only problem: every season of Riddick’s hiring. interviews for an increasing number of CEO positions.
6) Billy Gil, the Dan LeBatard show with Stugotz
The best NFL analysts tend to fall into one or two of a few crucial categories: They cover the X’s and O’s in the game; explain the intricate details of the ramifications of the ceiling and the construction of the list; talk about how the game intertwines with the culture in general; or share your experiences playing in the league.
But there is another element to cover the sport: the silly side. No league takes itself as seriously as the NFL. Those who push and poke on the building bring an added dimension: find an analyst who can hit all five and you have a true five-tool player.
That brings us to Billy Gil, or Guillermo, from the Dan Le Batard show with Stugotz. Billy’s weekly “useless sound montage” highlights Coach Speak’s biggest hits from the past week. It is poison for the ears. And listening is essential, at least to remind you that while this game is brilliant and absorbs everything at times, it is still a game. Sometimes it’s fun to treat it like one.
7) Cris Collinsworth, NBC
After having the best analyst championship belt on the booth until Romo’s debut in 2017, NBC’s Collinsworth has been on a steady decline. There is simply no such thing as the taste of yesteryear. In fact, the 2020 season represented some of Collinsworth’s worst moments, including the shocked expression of NFL fans.
Yet Collinsworth deserves credit for continuing to try to innovate within the congested confines of the broadcast booth. His foresight of investing in ProFootballFocus and trying to help bring the nerdy numbers of the underserved into the mainstream was groundbreaking. PFF is everywhere now, from an analyst’s laptop in Ireland to annoying the best stars in professional football weekly thanks to the companies’ rating system, often criticized.
Collinsworth is the driving force behind an NBC broadcast that’s riddled with ways that try to make you a smarter and more informed viewer. He may have slipped, but he remains comfortably behind Romo in second place as a game analyst.
8) Jenny Vrentas, Sports Illustrated
Vrentas is responsible for a large portion of the league’s best full-length shows over the past 24 months. She has written cover stories on the league’s response the social justice movement that swept America, the saints helped a church manages a sexual abuse crisis, and how a former team pastor rose to the most powerful position in the Texans football operations department, prompting Deshaun Watson to demand a trade.
9) Pat McAfee, The Pat McAfee Show
The former Colts punter has turned his friend-brother charisma into a multi-million dollar podcast vehicle, almost seeing him skyrocket to the lead analyst role on Monday Night Football. McAfee’s charm is in his reckless approach, his say-nothing attitude, and his comedic skills.
More than a buffoon, McAfee excels at getting players to open up. Players like McAfee – he’s one of them and he’s funny. Players want to give him good things: his counseling sessions with Aaron Rodgers They were a must see during the 2020 season.
10) Stephen A Smith, ESPN
Yes, Stephen A is loud, obnoxious, and difficult to take in increments of more than 30 seconds. No, he is not actually an analyst. And no, it is not a bastion of investigative journalism. But it’s worth remembering that ESPN is an entertainment network.
Once you rethink Smith’s idea, and appreciate the quality of his performing art, it is easy to admire. Does First Take have an outdated impact on overall speech compared to its value? Of course. But that’s not about Smith – anger at his fighting cue says more about the assailant than it does about Smith himself.
Unlike Skip Bayless, his old running mate, Smith’s flamboyant style is, in most cases, personable. And if it’s not personable, it’s at least a comedy writing tour de force. Smith’s Soliloquy on the OJ Simpson Trial, offered 20 years after the fact, was better than anything Saturday Night Live has produced in the last decade.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism