Mike Tirico Predicts a Golden Age of TV NFL Analysts Is Coming: TRAINA THOUGHTS

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1. During my conversation with Mike Tirico on this week's SI Media Podcast, the NBC play-by-play man threw out a strong take about the future of NFL broadcasts.

With Tony Romo making a wildly successful transition from the playing field right into the No. 1 analyst job at CBS (Hello, $17 million per year!), Tirico thinks if the other great quarterbacks decide to follow in Romo's footsteps, viewers will be treated to a different kind of broadcast than we normally get.

"I was watching an NFL Films clip and Philip Rivers was mic'd up," Tirico said on the podcast. "And Philip Rivers is the all-time trash talker. He has such a big family, so I don't know if he'd want to take on the commitment of doing football games. But it got me thinking about the four or five guys. I think if Peyton [Manning] ever did it, he'd be amazing. If [Tom] Brady ever did it, he'd be incredible. Aaron Rodgers is as enjoyable a production meeting as anyone. All these guys are super smart. Like Romo, they see the game.

"I think you're going enter the golden era of analysts for football in TV in the next 10–15 years. I think when Peyton Manning redefined the quarterback position—so, it's like I'm gonna get to the line with two plays—the vision of the quarterback controlling the game and understanding everything around him has expanded. And I think they see it live and call it out, so when they prepare for a broadcast in that mode they're able to get in that Romo-predicting-plays deal, which fans really enjoy. 

"So I think we've got a whole generation of quarterbacks coming up who've been trained like that. I think a perfect example of that is Dan Orlovsky, who has done a terrific job. He started his career on Twitter. And now he's doing in-games, and I think you're gonna see a bunch of guys do that, and when you combine that with the personalities, the Super Bowl rings, the guys who have been telegenic for years, I think we could enter in 10 years or so, if those guys want to do it, a golden era of analysts, in a different way, doing the games."

Rodgers has already said he won't call games when he retires from the Packers, but I think Manning will eventually cave in and take a No. 1 analyst job with ESPN after turning them down a few times. Brady is a wild card, but you can believe networks will go after him hard. If you can get the greatest quarterback of all time to call games, you do what you can to make it happen. And Drew Brees has already signed with NBC to work for them when he leaves the Saints, which Tirico discussed on the podcast.

Other topics covered with Tirico include what it's like calling a blowout, the main job of a play-by-play broadcaster, the NFL blocking him from calling Thursday Night Football, his relationship with Al Michaels, the best and worst games he's called, leaving ESPN and more.

Also joining me on this week's podcast is Steve Kornacki, who talks about his new role breaking down the NFL playoff picture on NBC's Football Night in America. We also discussed election night and got into some lighter topics, such as whether he owns a pair of jeans and whether he's rivals with John King.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

Or you can watch the podcast on YouTube.

2. Stephen A. Smith was a presenter at The Game Awards on Thursday night and managed to get in a solid shot at the Cowboys. Watch below if you don't want spoilers, scroll past the video if you want to read what he said.

"All of the esports athletes nominated are without question more determined, more tenacious and definitely win more than anybody on the Dallas Cowboys," said Smith.

Get beaten on Monday, get flexed out of Sunday Night Football, now this. What a week for the Cowboys.

3. In all my years following sports and sports media, I'm not sure I've ever seen a person in sports media more unpopular than now-former Daily News Jets beat writer, Manish Mehta.

Mehta caught a break recently because a story about him using someone else's work as his own broke the day before Thanksgiving, so it didn't get the attention you'd expect.

However, Mehta has now been let go from the Daily News.

One report says this is the result of Mehta "stalking" Jets general manager, Joe Douglas.

I did some asking around about this and all I can say is that if what I was told his true, it's not going to be fun for Mehta when the details go public.

4. Maybe it's just me, but I get the sense Bill Belichick was throwing around some sarcasm with this quote from Thursday night's postgame press conference after the Patriots lost to the Rams.

5. I can't wait for SEC fans to flip out when their team is playing only on ESPN+ some time in 2024 thanks to the conference leaving CBS and signing a new television deal with ESPN/ABC.

6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: We are knee deep in the Christmas season, so naturally we turn to Larry David during this time.

7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: During the SI Media Podcast with Mike Tirico, I asked him for the worst game he's ever called. He mentioned a 2007 Steelers-Dolphins Monday Night Football game that ended 3-0 thanks to terrible weather. Here are the highlights/lowlights of that game.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.