Mar 26, 2007
Let me first say I am not a fan of ESPN’s coverage of the NFL and especially MNF last year. I actually don’t mind Tony Kornheiser, but I have always disliked Mike Tirico on many levels. As for Joe Theismann, let’s just say I’ve had an extremely difficult time listening to him the last 10-12 years. Back in the late-80s and early 90s I didn’t mind him, but once I started following the NFL professionally, I couldn’t take anything he said seriously. Theismann is capable of making a good point, but he usually follows that up with 4-5 tidbits of insight that really bring out the W-T-F-face.
If ESPN does in fact choose Ron Jaworski to replace Theismann, they’ll have made a terrific choice. Maybe a decade too late, but a great choice just the same. This is one of the best jobs in broadcasting, and Theismann hasn’t been good enough to merit it for a long, long time. Jaworski, on the other hand, has deserved the gig for years.
Many know all about how Jaws locks himself in a room at NFL Films for days at a time analyzing tape, and it’s true, I’ve witnessed it. More than any other analyst, Jaws studies the coach’s tape along with another one of my friends, Greg Cosell (another guy who deserves his due), who appears each week on my Sirius NFL Radio show during the season.
So when Jaws is talking about something, he’s not talking out of his ass – and trust me there are a lot of former jocks in broadcasting who are lazy and don’t work hard at all and just throw stuff out there. Jaws may be hitting the big-time these days, but he maintains a blue-collar mentality when it comes to doing the work that needs to be done to properly analyze the NFL and its players. Not only that, he’s got a great sense of humor. A few years ago, when I worked with him for 17 weeks on the NFL Fantasy Live show, he allowed Adam Caplan and me, total scrubs at the time (not that I’m a star now), to break his balls hard, right on the air. He took it in stride. Of course, he was probably making 300X more money that us on the show, but still.
I think one of the best compliments of any form I’ve ever received was last year, when I got a couple of calls from Jaws. He was preparing for some fantasy stuff for the NFL countdown show, and he felt the need to “tap me on the hip” for some insight. That’s big to me because I think Jaworski is the best NFL analyst on the planet. There are a few who are close, but Jaws is the man. He’s the best.
ESPN had better hire him or else they’ll lose the shred of credibility they have left.