For NFL fans who follow the sport primarily on TV, the lyrics from an old Bob Dylan song seem appropriate:
“The times, they are a-changin’ …”
When you go to the ballpark, the guy hawking programs often says that you can’t tell the players without a scorecard. By analogy, fans will need new lists of cast members to learn to recognize all the new faces on their TV sets. Let me start with the fact that John Lynch left his role as a FOX color analysts to become the Niners’ GM several months ago. That opened a slot and when Tony Romo went to CBS, the slot remained open. Well, now we know that Jay Cutler will retire from the NFL and take the job as the analyst on the “#2 telecast team” on FOX working with Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis.
Bears’ fans have not had a warm relationship with Cutler during his 8 years as the Bears’ QB even though his record in Chicago was 52-51. Cutler’s demeanor and even his body language were off-putting to Bears’ fans. Some have categorized him as “surly” or “sullen” and those adjectives do not immediately project him to be successful as a TV talking head. However, Cutler is smart and he is articulate; like Tony Romo, he will have to learn his new craft quickly because neither of them has a long broadcasting background to call upon in this opening season.
Moreover, it is not just Bears’ fans who have issues with Cutler. The Sporting News published a piece with this headline:
“Jay Cutler hire by FOX Sports is an affront to football fans”
Steve Rosenbloom had this to say in the Chicago Tribune about Cutler when the hiring was announced:
“The largely uninteresting and uninterested Jay Cutler has been hired by Fox an as NFL analyst, and I’m thinking, Cutler must have an endless need to get ripped for what he does on Sunday.”
I suspect this topic will one that engenders “conversation” once the NFL season begins…
Another change in a TV lineup happened over at CBS. Recall that Phil Simms landed on the set of The NFL Today after Tony Romo took his place as Jim Nantz’ sidekick. [Simms took the empty seat left behind by Tony Gonzales who appears to have left the program on his own.] Now, CBS has replaced Bart Scott on that show with Nate Burleson meaning The NFL Today will now feature:
- James Brown
- Nate Burleson
- Bill Cowher
- Boomer Esiason
- Phil Simms
By no means did I think that Scott “carried that show” nor do I think he was the best guy on the set; but he did bring something to that program that is now missing. He played defense in the NFL. Now, the panel consists of 2 quarterbacks, a wide receiver and a coach.
Over at ESPN, the wide-ranging purge from a couple of weeks ago may not be over. Recently, Jerome Bettis got the axe at ESPN; he had been there doing studio show work since 2013.
Changing subjects abruptly … I heard a recording of an interview of Draymond Green on the radio; I do not know who did the interview because what I heard was only Green’s commentary. The subject was Celtics’ center/forward Kelly Olynyk a “dirty player”. Green is an exciting and a volatile player on really good Warriors’ team; he properly gets a lot of media attention for his play and for his antics. I am not surprised that someone would have gone to him seeking an interview nor am I surprised at Green’s candid and out-of-the-box commentary.
Having said that, I just do not think that I want to put too much credence in Draymond Green as an assessor of who is and who is not a “dirty player” – – unless, of course, one were to use the old playground retort, “…takes one to know one.”
Draymond Green is unquestionably a serial crotch kicker. His feet magnetically find their way to the nether parts of the anatomies of his opponents. As soon as I recall those facts, I think it is time to tune out anything and everything Draymond Green has to say about Kelly Olynyk and/or dirty players in general in the NBA.
Finally, I included an observation from Steve Rosenbloom of the Chicago Tribune above. He was mightily unimpressed with the Bears’ overall draft strategy this year. He had nothing good to say about their trade-up to draft Mitch Trubisky and he does not think all that much of Bears’ second round pick Adam Shaheen. However, this observation about their fourth-round pick demonstrates his overall disdain:
“Alabama safety Eddie Jackson, one of the Bears’ fourth-round picks, is coming off a broken left leg last season and a torn right ACL in 2014. I’m guessing the Bears would have drafted him higher if he had shown up at his pro day in a neck brace.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………