Speaking on 1310 The Ticket on Tuesday, Troy Aikman revealed he has interest in a general manager role with an NFL team. While Aikman said he doesn't envision that role with the Cowboys, the possibility of the longtime Fox analyst taking on a front-office gig would create ripple effects not only in the NFL, but also in the broadcasting industry. A transcription from Pro Football Talk:
"It’s something that I guess I’ve always somewhat entertained. I’ve had a chance to talk with [Broncos General Manager] John Elway in previous years. I’ve visited with [49ers General Manager] John Lynch, and the decision that he made to take on that job in San Francisco, and I’ve said many many times, I still believe there’s another frontier for me — maybe there’s not — but I believe that there is, and I think that might very well be it. It’s something that I think would be very challenging. I’d be giving up a lot to leave the job that I have to take on a role like that. It’s an all-consuming job and I certainly recognize that, but I think the challenge would make it worthwhile."- Troy Aikman
Aikman has been with FOX since 2001 and has become as recognizable for his work with Joe Buck as he was during his days with the Cowboys. Buck and Aikman together are arguably the best broadcast duo in sports, year-in and year-out. Replacing Aikman, whenever that would be, would be a substantial challenge for one of FOX Sports' most recognizable pairings.
Of course, that concern would quickly go away if FOX can lure Tony Romo.. Michael McCarthy reported in August that, along with ESPN and CBS, FOX will potential be waiting in the wings with a bid for Romo, who is set to become a media free agent after this season. If FOX theoretically won the bidding war, Aikman's loss wouldn't be nearly as detrimental to the network, even with potential speed bumps as Romo adjusts to Buck.
But bringing in Romo remains a big if-- most around the industry consider CBS the frontrunners to keep him.
FOX does have a deep, talented depth chart of color commentators in Chris Spielman, Charles Davis, and Daryl Johnston. Admittedly, none of them are Super Bowl-winning, former Cowboys quarterbacks-- and there is no denying that's a big factor when it comes to deciding who is in the booth with Buck for the NFC Championship Game and in the Super Bowl rotation with two other networks.
There also isn't a viable list of candidates to be the heir apparent for Aikman on the open market. If so, ESPN wouldn't be in the difficult situation they currently find themselves in, with many question marks for the future of the Monday Night Football booth.
Greg Olsen could very well have a future as a color commentator, but depending on if and when Aikman departs, the timing may not be right for Olsen to jump into the fire on the A-team.
If nothing else, Aikman's comments should create a tremendous amount of leverage during his next contract negotiations with FOX (if they don't sign Romo, of course). Aikman reportedly currently makes around $7.5 million per year.
Troy Aikman seemed to have serious aspirations about this and it didn't come across as just talk. This will be a story worth monitoring by both those in NFL front offices and in the booth moving forward.