Nate Burleson had a spot start Sunday on The NFL Today with James Brown out due to COVID-19 protocols. Hosting is a far different task than analyzing and the stage is massive. To the surprise of absolutely no one, Burleson handled the duties flawlessly all afternoon long, elevating his already-high stock to a new level. If one closed their eyes and envisioned a regular successor whenever Brown hangs it up, the former wide receiver would be near the top of the list.
Burleson's Good Morning Football colleagues put a bow on the moment today by giving him a ceremonial game ball for excellence in pregame hosting. The soliloquy given by Peter Schrager was surprisingly touching.
Like any player who receives a ball after a memorable performance, Burleson thanked his support staff at CBS and everyone who contributed to the show.
Two observations: Good Morning Football works because of its sincerity. Earlier this year, both Schrager and Burleson spoke to me about the ties that bind, all the while emitting an energy that was too authentic to be fake. That's why they can do moments like these and have it be more heartwarming than cheesy.
Secondly, it's quite interesting to see how every regular on that show has found their lane beyond the three hours of morning television. Each is doing a secondary project that reflects their sentimentalities as well as what they do best without overshadowing the main gig.
Perfecting that balance isn't easy.