Ranking Starting NFL QBs By Broadcasting Potential
1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
There's a reason NBC signed Brees to a multi-million dollar contract to be a future analyst with them before he even retired from the NFL. He's charismatic, recognizable from all the commercials he does and has the football pedigree that gives him instant credibility with viewers. He took an initial hit with his comments about not supporting those who kneel during the national anthem, but quickly righted the ship and seemingly restored the credibility he lost amongst some fans. Perhaps he alienated others with his about-face. Give it some time, but he could be the next Terry Bradshaw or Troy Aikman, depending on what path he and NBC travel down.
2. Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts
Rivers has already garnered some attention as a potential broadcasting prospect, although any suitors will probably have to wait until after he's done coaching Alabama high school football to bring him on. The appeal is clear, though; Rivers has an easy way about him with a fun-loving attitude and an incredible Southern twang. He has as much experience to back up his expertise as any QB in the league right now and would be a lot of fun on the broadcast. At minimum he has a large built-in audience with all his kids.
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
What broadcasting corporation wouldn't want Fitzmagic as one of the faces of its coverage? He has the nickname, a recognizable look with that thick beard and wild hair and, did ya know he graduated from Harvard? Of course, hearing that would grow even more tired than it is already, but the fact that he went there does help from a credibility standpoint. He's carved out such a unique career that he has stories for days and the fact that he's become something of a cult hero in his later years only helps.
4. Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Minshew is quite high on this list for someone with half a season of starting experience. But he's such an absurd character that he would make for a great television presence. Minshew has a salt-of-the-earth attitude that would resonate with viewers and a very laid-back vibe that would mesh well with any potential booth partner. Minshew also has a pretty intriguing journey from low-level college recruit to a potential Heisman candidate to sixth-round pick to cult hero. He's a football guy at heart, and the physical resemblance to Uncle Rico would make him a broadcasting sensation on the internet.
5. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Who knows what the future holds for Wilson and Ciara, but right now he's a celebrity married to a mega celebrity. That makes him interesting not only to NFL fans, but a wider base. That's good for business. He has the Super Bowl pedigree and the individual accolades to back it up and has been on TV in several capacities already. His career is still young, but Wilson already has everything a network looks for in an analyst.
6. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Brady's name recognition alone would be worth a whole lot of money to any network, regardless of his skill in the booth. He would make a fine analyst after two decades of football and would be able to provide a lot of insight into what it takes to win games. If he let down his PR guard a bit, he could even be great. But Brady's value comes from the fact that everybody, football fan or not, knows who he is. He would instantly be the most recognizable person on any network he'd join and it would stay that way for a long time. If he ever showed interest, suitors would be lining up around the corner for the right to plaster his brand everywhere.
7. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Don't former Cowboys quarterbacks always make good broadcasters? Troy Aikman and Tony Romo are dominating right now. Why not Dak after he's done playing? He has a face for TV and being the QB for America's Team gives him a built-in fan base. It's one of the reasons ESPN took a swing on Jason Witten. Audience development matters. From an analyst standpoint, he's relaxed in front of the camera and can break down plays as skillfully as most QBs. If he wins a Super Bowl or two, he could wind up being the hottest candidate in 10-15 years from now.
8. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The benefit of having Rodgers on the broadcast is a cross between Prescott and Wilson. He'd come with a horde of loyal followers from his days as a signal-caller for the league's most historic franchise and one of its most popular. He has something of a celebrity profile by dating Danica Patrick and formerly dating Olivia Munn. Rodgers has shown he can be clever when he wants to in television appearances and the potential for great soundbites is sky-high if he really lets loose.
9. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
The squeaky voice could be an issue for Mahomes or it could be his calling card. No matter what, it makes him memorable. As a player, he already has the pedigree needed to be on TV. The fact that he's only 24 suggests his resume will be even more appealing when his career is over. Like Prescott, he's good in front of the camera. Unlike Dak, he's much more active on social media. That could be good when the time comes to find another job.
10. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Extremely handsome and charismatic? Jimmy G has those boxes checked. The Niners have one of the most widespread fanbases in the NFL after their success in the 90s, which is another positive. Garoppolo has the kind of voice to make whatever he's saying interesting, even if it's not, which is massive for any television personality. It also feels inevitable that his star power will only grow as his career progresses. By the time it's all said and done, he could be one of the most widely-known NFL players in the public sphere. In tandem with everything else, that would make him a popular target for the networks.
11. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
"You like that?!"
Like, "you got Moss'd," Kirk Cousins already has a built-in TV segment based on his catch phrase. That's enough to build a career around in broadcasting. Throw in the midwestern values/demeanor, sprinkle in some hard opinions about his former rivals/teammates (I'm looking at you Stefon Diggs) and you've got a legit analyst. I honestly think he could be higher on this list but we'll leave him here for now until he wins a few more big games.
12. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
Ryan is a smart dude who could provide some really interesting analysis in the booth once his playing days are over. A first-round pick with extensive starting experience and being on the wrong side of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history is an appealing package. He's rather vanilla, which could help or hurt his case depending on how you look at it, but Ryan feels like a high-floor prospect in the broadcasting department. At worst, he'll be fine, with a lot of room to grow into a recognizable figure for his network.
13. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
Sometimes you need a guy who's going to stir the pot a bit and Mayfield fits that mold. Based on his current persona, he'd probably be better on radio or a podcast (à la Pat McAfee) than as a color commentator. But broadcasting is broadcasting and that counts. Even better, why not put him next to Colin Cowherd and let them go at it. That would be fun.
14. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
Another beloved quarterback for a die-hard football market is what Roethlisberger brings to the table. He exudes Dad Who Falls Asleep on the Couch energy and generally gives off the appearance that he's here for a good time, which would be ideal for the 1 p.m. time slot. His checkered past might give networks pause, though.
15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
Put Stafford on the SEC Network and watch the fans go crazy. He's got the good ol' boy demeanor down to a science and could really get SEC fans riled up by talking about how great Georgia is and how overrated Nick Saban is. Or maybe he focuses on the bottom feeders and rips Skip Bayless and Vanderbilt. Either way, he's a great niche broadcast guy if he wants to be.
16. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
Watson could be great on the NFL broadcast, but perhaps even better at the college level. After all, outside of the state of Alabama, who wouldn't love hearing him retell the story of Clemson's epic last-second touchdown in the national championship? Regardless, he has some serious pedigree and a seemingly spotless reputation off the field too. He comes across as a polished communicator in press conferences and has the QB IQ networks covet.
17. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Jackson still has a ways to go in his career, but he could be a quality addition to a booth in the future. He sees the field like few other quarterbacks have ever seen the field in NFL history and, at the very least, his extensive run-pass option experience would be very helpful for breaking down why a QB did one thing instead of another for less football-savvy viewers. We just haven't seen enough of Jackson in the media yet to really nail down what his television personality would look like.
18. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers
Bridgewater has such an interesting story, he could honestly be higher on this list. Any time a player suffers a devastating injury, have Bridgewater go and speak with them about the recovery. He can intersperse his own experience and perhaps serve as inspiration for the other players. That's must-watch television. To be more than a bit-part, however, Bridgewater needs something else to tie it all together. A few good seasons in Carolina could be just what the doctor ordered (no pun intended).
19. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Tannehill's experience jumping from college wide receiver to NFL quarterback is worth something, and his career path is pretty unusual for a pro football player given his second resurgence in Tennessee. He can also lay claim to being one of the very few opposing quarterbacks to ever win in Foxboro in January. Those experiences don't make for the most interesting career on this list, but it gives him an edge over several of his counterparts.
20. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
He has the nickname (Tiger King) and the pedigree/popularity to already be LSU's top analyst. Can he transition to the big time? Or will he remain a regional star? If he wins with the Bengals, he could move up this list quickly. Of course, that's a big IF. Still, he's poised in interviews and exudes cool smoking a victory cigar. People remember that. Being memorable is important in this game.
21. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Wentz's small-town, country-boy style would definitely resonate with some viewers (but not all). That makes him a relatively unique personality, but at this point in his career, Wentz doesn't have much else to offer. He'll come with a bigger fanbase than many of his co-workers as one of the men who helped bring Philly its first Super Bowl, but thus far Wentz hasn't proven to be especially engaging or interesting in media interviews. I'd put money on his stock in this regard rising as his career goes on, but for now, there are better options.
22. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders
Derek's brother David is already dabbling in Media 101, which is getting into arguments with other players on social media and then defending yourself on TV. Maybe Derek follows suit? The biggest issue Derek faces is he comes off as a rather boring person. In media, you need to have some kind of edge that makes you memorable. What's Carr's calling card?
23. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Murray's extremely unique backstory gives him a step up over most of the other young quarterbacks on this list. He transferred from Texas A&M to Oklahoma only to lose the starting job to future Heisman Trophy winner and 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, and then proceeded to take that job in 2019 and become a Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in his own right. Then there's all the baseball stuff. Murray seems like a quiet personality, which is a point against in broadcasting, but his distinctive path to the NFL and exciting play style make him a good future bet.
24. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
Sam Darnold doesn't come across as the most interesting fellow, but he's got that relaxed demeanor that plays well off the right co-host. Do I think he's a national fixture as a lead analyst? No, but I could see him succeeding as an analyst breaking down film or perhaps in some role on radio. Plus, playing in a New York market helps with networking. Just look at Phil Simms.
25. Mitchell Trubisky/Nick Foles, Chicago Bears
Foles would be a great broadcaster one day. He's been around the block in the league as both a starter and backup, would come with the unconditional support of a major city, and put together the greatest stretch of play by a backup quarterback in NFL history to win a damn Super Bowl against the greatest dynasty in football history. Unfortunately for his spot in these rankings, he technically shares the starter label with Trubisky, who comes with none of those qualities. A true tale of two broadcasters here, but Trubisky weighs Foles down enough to sink them to this spot.
26. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
If he wanted to, Josh Allen could step in right now and be the lead analyst for Wyoming football. That's just what happens when you're the most high-profile player to come out of an individual school in 20 years. Beyond that, Allen comes across as a pretty fiery, funny guy. You can tell he cares on the field and that passion usually extends to the booth. Throw in a little humor and you got a broadcaster in the making.
27. Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Lock has already gone viral on social media for singing Jeezy on the sideline, but is there more to him than that? Perhaps, but right now he needs to prove he has the talent to back up the swag. If not, he'd be relegated to regional coverage. He's from Missouri and played his college ball there, so perhaps that's the best gig for him anyway.
28. Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins
Haskins could have an interesting story to tell when it's all said and done, considering he went from one-year starter at one of the country's premier college programs to a first-round draft pick and NFL signal-caller. If he ends up playing even decently over the next few years, he'll also come with a good backing of support from Washington fans just happy they had a competent quarterback. But as it stands, that fanbase is one of the smallest in the league after decades of poor play and team mismanagement by Dan Snyder and Haskins isn't very good at all. Haskins seems like a jovial personality in his brief time in the spotlight, but hasn't shown enough there to overcome the other obstacles in his path to be an interesting broadcasting personality.
29. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
There is nothing about Jared Goff that screams broadcaster. He's almost too California cool. While he wouldn't have gotten where he is if he wasn't a competitive person, he rarely shows his emotions, which is great for playing QB but not great on-screen. Simply put, I don't see it.
30. Daniel Jones, New York Giants
Former Giants quarterbacks are typically popular media personalities, and succeeding the most beloved in Eli Manning makes for an interesting tale. But that's about the only thing Jones has going for him in this department. His rookie season did nothing to dispel the notion that he's a rather bland personality who is happy to show up, play okay, give menial soundbites, and go home. He went to Duke, so he won't even have a rabid college fanbase to support him. Nothing at all wrong with that, but not exactly broadcasting fodder worth drooling over.
31. Tyrod Taylor/Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Tyrod Taylor could be great as a Virginia Tech broadcaster. He was the last QB to truly bring them to glory and he seems like an interesting guy. The problem is, Herbert is not interesting, which brings their ranking down some. True, he brought Oregon glory by winning the Rose Bowl. But that's about the most interesting thing he's done. He's too soft spoken and would be drowned out on TV. I see Taylor with a more promising career in broadcasting than Herbert, though I don't feel the same way about his future as the Chargers starting QB.
32. Jarrett Stidham, New England Patriots
We just don't know anything about Stidham. Like, at all. Nothing, nada, zilch. He didn't stand out in media interviews while at Georgia and may as well have been locked in Gillette Stadium for the entirety of his rookie season. Those outside the building don't really know who Stidham is as a person or a player, and such unknowns make it hard to project broadcasting potential. By this time next year, he could leap 10 spots or he could still be sitting at No. 32 on this list. For now, he sits in last.