Players aspiring to work in TV share opinions of current analysts
Some players recently attended NFL Broadcast Boot Camp
Ron Jaworski, Howie Long, Kenny Mayne among most respected
Tiki Barber, Mel Kiper, 'talking heads' among least respected
For the majority of NFL players, the "media" is a collection of individuals who belong in the same sordid basket. These players heed the warning that more bad than good can come out of talking with reporters.
However, some have an interest in joining the media once their playing careers end. I caught up with some of them at the third-annual NFL Player Development Broadcast Boot Camp and got their thoughts on the broadcasters of today.
Who is your favorite broadcaster/analyst and why?
Damien Woody, Jets offensive tackle: "Jaws [ESPN's Ron Jaworski]. He is a student of the game. Some guys are very opinionated and there is nothing wrong about that as long as you do the homework. Jaws knows what is going on from a football perspective. If he is critical of a player or certain scheme, he shows you why. You can respect him because you know he does the work."
La'Roi Glover, Pro Bowl defensive tackle who retired earlier this week: "There are actually two. My first guy is Tom Jackson. He is sharp and straight to the point. Everyone seems to respect him and he very rarely makes mistakes. He is always clear and concise and has had a long tenure at ESPN for a reason.
"Second guy is Howie Long [Fox]. He tries to steer away from the controversial and hot-button issues. He just hits you with facts, great points. No frills."
Renaldo Wynn, Redskins defensive end: "I like James Brown [CBS]. James has a gift of making anyone he is interviewing comfortable. He is amazing at orchestrating all of those personalities on the set. He makes those other guys shine because he is so smooth."
Matt Light, Patriots offensive tackle: "I love Kenny Mayne [ESPN]. He is the greatest. People with a sense of humor need some Kenny Mayne. He brings out the lightheartedness."
What announcers do you not care for and why?
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars running back: "There are guys that say things about me or my team that I don't really appreciate but that doesn't mean they are bad broadcasters. There are some guys that take more shots at guys than other. I think it is most noticeable during the draft process. People think I am still bitter about it and I probably am. You work for three months for the biggest job interview of your life and there are talking heads like Mel Kiper [ESPN] who says 'this guy isn't good because ...'"
Wynn: "I played in New York last year and guys are still talking about Tiki Barber [NBC]. He had just retired and was already bashing [Tom] Coughlin and Eli [Manning], which is the worst thing he could have done. I think it bit him in the butt in the end because no players wanted to talk to him and the Giants won the Super Bowl. He hurt himself by doing that."
What are the qualities you most admire and respect in a broadcaster?
Bryant McFadden, Cardinals defensive back: "I like enthusiasm. You gotta have a love for it and a passion. You can tell whether or not someone likes what they are doing and if they love it, it makes me want to keep watching."
Glover: "I like guys who are bold and willing to make bold statements and then able to back them up with facts, so you are not just a talking head."
Woody: "I like honest broadcasters. I think if you are fake it is obvious. You have to be yourself and be true to yourself. And do your due diligence. Put the time in so you know what you are talking about before you go on. I don't mind when guys call me [because then] they know what they are talking about. Ask me what happened."
Light: "I think less is more. Sometimes guys try to explain things in too much detail or voice their opinion too often. I love the Steve Sabol [NFL Films] stuff with just a minor narration. Let the game speak for itself."
What are the qualities you really dislike in an on-air personality?
Glover: "I really don't like when guys try to be funny and it goes over people's heads. When they try to be geniuses and are too smart and people don't get it. Whether you are a janitor or a student at MIT, everyone should be able to relate to it."
Woody: "I hate bandwagon guys. Guys who jump on and off or ride the coattails of someone else. I like guys who have their own opinion and stick with it."
McFadden: "It is tough because some guys elaborate on things they don't know much about. [There are] analysts who have never played but then criticize when they have never been in those shoes before."
Wynn: "The least-liked broadcasters are former players who get in the booth and they start bashing other players immediately. They start bashing other players and forget they used to be a player. You can be critical if you need to be without personally bashing people. I think you lose your credibility."
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