The NFL season kicks off in earnest on Thursday night with Packers-Bears on NBC! We have finally made it. As we did with college football a few weeks ago, The Big Lead staff has drafted media teams. Whose do you like the best?
Ryan Glasspiegel Network: Joe Tessitore (play-by-play), Kurt Warner (booth analyst), Colleen Wolfe (studio host), Terry Bradshaw and Steve Smith (studio analysts), Kristina Pink (sideline reporter), Dianna Russini (reporter), Colin Cowherd (columnist/opinion), Stugotz (comic relief), Chris Simms (flex)
My network is stacked. I got Tess as a steal in the last round after there was a run on play-by-play guys early, Terry Bradshaw and Steve Smith with Colleen Wolfe in the studio which is sure to have fireworks, Kristina Pink en route to becoming a household name on sidelines, Dianna Russini breaking news and being onsite as a reporter, Colin Cowherd with interesting opinions, Stugotz to bring the levity, Chris Simms making an impact on digital, radio, and television in flex, and the very underrated Kurt Warner as my booth analyst. Ratings sure to follow.
Ryan Phillips Network: Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Tony Romo (booth analyst), James Brown (studio host), Dan Orlovsky and Mel Kiper Jr. (studio analysts), Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter), Chris Mortensen (reporter), Bill Simmons (columnist/opinion), Cooper Manning (comic relief), Todd McShay (flex)
Well, my network scored the most coveted voice in football by landing Tony Romo with the No. 1 pick. Pairing him with Ian Eagle and Michele Tafoya gives my network the best broadcast trio in the game. I also shrewdly nailed down both Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, cornering the NFL draft analysis market for years to come. James Brown brings gravitas to a studio show that will include the draftniks, Dan Orlovsky and appearances from Cooper Manning. Bill Simmons provides color as my columnist with his weekly game picks and Chris Mortensen takes the spot as my do-everything reporter. Try to beat my network. You can’t.
Kyle Koster Network: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (booth analyst), Chris Berman (studio host), Deion Sanders and Field Yates (studio analysts), Tracy Wolfson (sideline reporter), Adam Schefter (reporter), Peter King (columnist/opinion), Peyton Manning (comic relief), Mina Kimes (flex)
Once again, my colleagues’ inability to understand the greatness of NBC’s football coverage is my profit. Tirico is underutilized and Collinsworth is the best in the game. Berman is The Standard and Schefter is unmatched. Perhaps most impressively, I’ve done what so many others have failed to do: land Manning in a role that allows himself to be himself with no pressure. You can’t outdraft me.
Bobby Burack Network: Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (booth analyst), Charissa Thompson (studio host), Michael Irvin and Randy Moss (studio analysts), Lisa Salters (sideline reporter), Mike Florio (reporter), Big Cat (columnist/opinion), Cousin Sal (comic relief), PFT Commenter (flex)
So, let me get this straight. With this network, you get the best in the business Joe Buck, his partner Troy Aikman, the Pardon My Take duo, a great reporter in Mike Florio, top-notch Lisa Salters, the best football host going in Charissa Thompson, and, wait for it, Michael Irvin and Randy Moss in the studio? Oh, and if that is not enough for you, you get some Cousin Sal. Dare I say this is the “Ozymandias” of sports networks?
Brian Giuffra Network: Jim Nantz (play-by-play), Trent Green (booth analyst), Rich Eisen (studio host), Michael Strahan (studio analyst), Jimmy Johnson (studio analyst), Pam Oliver (sideline reporter), Jay Glazer (reporter), Albert Breer (columnist/opinion), Frank Caliendo (comic relief), Josina Anderson (flex).
What are you looking for in your NFL media coverage, because, guess what, we’ve got it all!
Let’s start in the studio with the most insightful, star-studded squad in the business. Rich Eisen is the orchestrator, Michael Strahan is the luminary, Jimmy Johnson is the respected veteran and Jay Glazer breaks news like the Odell Beckham Jr. trade. We add the most connected media member with the players, Josina Anderson, and the funniest pregame person in NFL history (imagine Frank Caliendo impersonating Jon Gruden and the Raiders drama now). What more could you want?
Moving to the booth, no one calls a game like Jim Nantz and Trent Green was the “it” guy before Tony Romo came around. Down on the sideline, we have our respected reporter, Pam Oliver. And if you’re looking for eloquent, astute writing, look no further than Albert Breer, who seamlessly took over Monday Morning Quarterback from Peter King and in many ways elevated it.
I’m not saying the other NFL media squads aren’t great. I’m saying this is the best that’s ever been put together.
Liam McKeone Network: Al Michaels (play-by-play), Booger MacFarland (booth analyst), Kay Adams (studio host), Nate Buerlson (studio analyst), Boomer Esiason (studio analyst), Erin Andrews (sideline reporter), Ian Rapoport (reporter), Bill Barnwell (columnist/opinion), Rob Riggle (comic relief), Mike Pereria (flex)
I went for a nice mix of battle-worn veterans of the broadcast booth and some up-and-coming names. Al Michaels is the best in the business right now, and Booger is actually a decent analyst when he’s not riding that nightmare contraption from Monday Night Football last year. Michaels will bring the best out of him. Few can match Erin Andrews’ resume on the sideline, and Ian Rapoport is second only to Schefter in all of NFL media in the scoop game. This is the only squad with a rules expert in Mike Pereria, a key role for this year especially with all the pass-interference controversies bound to happen.
Inside the studio, Kay Adams is as good a host out there, and the combination of Boomer Esiason and Nate Buerlson will provide enough entertainment for everyone with some insightful analysis from a player’s perspective. Bill Barnwell is the best in the game in combining stats and analysis in a presentable format for fans of all interests. If you’re a casual fan, you come for Michaels and Andrews to give you a pleasant viewing experience. If you love the nitty-gritty details of football, Barnwell and Pereria have you covered. Tough to wrong with this network.
Mel Kiper Jr.