1. Now that four weeks of the football season are in the books, I wanted to share some thoughts on this year’s new crop of broadcasters.
I don’t think it’s fair to judge anyone after just one week on the job, but maybe it’s O.K. after a month.
GREG OLSEN, FOX: The former tight end went straight from the playing field to a very big television job, joining Kevin Burkhardt on Fox’s No. 2 crew. Olsen is excellent with the X's and O's and is great at breaking down a play. He has loosened up since his debut, but I’d still like to see a little more personality and levity from him. I think it’s there. It’s just a matter of his becoming more comfortable.
DREW BREES, NBC: NBC hired Brees while he was still the Saints quarterback, so you have to assume he must be something special in the booth. In fact, there were rumblings that Brees would succeed Cris Collinsworth on Sunday Night Football when Mike Tirico eventually takes over for Al Michaels. And after hearing Brees call a couple of Notre Dame games, it’s not surprising that we’re only hearing about Tirico taking over for Michaels now.
It’s not that Brees is bad. He’s just … whatever. He comes across as your typical cookie-cutter analyst. Not as someone who is destined to be vaulted into one of the top-three booths in the NFL. Maybe Brees would be better on NFL games where he knows the players and coaches and could share unique insight.
MARK SANCHEZ, FOX: Sanchez joined Fox as a game broadcaster after doing studio work for ESPN the past couple of years. The former quarterback seems like a natural calling games and has been the best of the rookies. He comes across as if he’s having a lot of fun and gives off almost a fan vibe. He has a little bit of Tony Romo in him. He’s not stiff and doesn’t act like a know-it-all analyst. He’s just a very fun listen.
AQIB TALIB: FOX: Talib called two games for Fox last season, so he’s technically not a rookie, but he’s now a regular in Fox’s rotation, calling games with Gus Johnson. We’ve written before that we love Talib’s style, and we’ve written that Gus is made for the NFL, so we love this crew. The only piece of constructive criticism here is that we’d love to hear more of Talib. Usually, we want analysts to talk less—a lot less—but with Gus being such a dominating presence in the booth, sometimes it feels like we’re not getting enough Talib. We want more Talib.
PEYTON AND ELI MANNING, ESPN2: For years, we’ve known that ESPN BADLY wanted Peyton Manning to call Monday Night Football and now we know why. Before the launch of the Peyton and Eli alternate telecast, I was told by more than one person that I trust that the pair was going to be a smash hit. That’s how it’s played out. The most surprising aspect of the success story has been Eli’s performance. The former Giants quarterback didn’t show much personality publicly during his time in New York, so it’s been a pleasure to see him unleash his wit and humor on national television. He might be the only person alive who can get away with mocking Peyton and he has done so brilliantly on each episode.
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2. This was the single most enjoyable moment from yesterday's NFL action.
3. Love this. Former Rams quarterback Jim Everett spotted a fan wearing his jersey at yesterday's Cardinals-Rams game, so he decided to surprised the dude by sitting next to him.
4. This was the best piece of Brady-Belichick hype content over the weekend.
5. NFL fans love to watch young, exciting quarterbacks with bright futures.
6. To say Urban Meyer's NFL run is off to a shaky start is an understatement. After starting the season 0–4, the Jaguars coach was trending on Twitter over the weekend after images of his getting cozy with women in a bar who were not his wife circulated on social media.
This morning, he offered the standard apology but could not have looked or sounded more miserable doing so.
7. This week's SI Media Podcast features a fantastic conversation with Stephen A. Smith. Topics covered include: why he thought First Take needed change; getting cursed out by Kobe; the art of debating, regretful comments; how sports media has changed; his desire to host a late-night talk show; and much more.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
8. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Today is Linda McMahon's 73rd birthday. This moment—and pop—from WrestleMania X-Seven, perfectly sums up how wild the Attitude Era was.
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.
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