1. “Fine. Bench me. But I’m gonna make it hard as s--- for you to bench me.”
After two weeks of the NFL playoffs, Olsen is clearly going to make it “hard as s---” for Fox to bench him.
Even though we’re working with a small sample of games, Olsen has had an outstanding postseason and has set himself up to win over even more viewers thanks to Fox’s airing this year’s Super Bowl.
Olsen really showed his chops in the last three minutes of the Niners’ win against the Cowboys on Sunday. Most analysts flop late in games, because they don’t understand clock management and timeout strategy. Olsen, meanwhile, couldn’t have been more on top of it all.
As the Cowboys made their final drive of the game, Olsen pointed out, after a completion near midfield, that even though Dallas tight end Dalton Schultz went out of bounds the clock didn’t stop, because he wasn’t moving forward when he hit the sideline. Olsen also took Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy and the Dallas players to task for not hustling more before a late punt to save time on the clock. And in his finest moment, Olsen pointed out that McCarthy needed to call his timeouts before, not after the two-minute warning–a coaching tactic that most NFL analysts (and coaches) get wrong.
Whether someone enjoys a broadcaster is completely subjective. My two main criteria for anyone in the booth is (1) Don’t annoy me; (2) get strategy right. Olsen is two for two.
He’s also just a very easy listen. He doesn’t overspeak, he doesn’t try to act like the audience is stupid and he’s a football genius and he’s not afraid to criticize players and coaches.
If anything, I’d love to see a little more personality from Olsen. At one point in the Dallas-San Francisco game, Olsen’s partner, Kevin Burkhardt, revealed that Olsen had been belting out some Rihanna songs during one of their car trips over the weekend. I was very curious to hear which Rihanna songs had Olsen jamming. I also would’ve liked to hear Olsen drop a couple of bars, but I can understand why that might have been a bit too much for some viewers.
Here’s the wild thing about Olsen: He’s been doing this for only two seasons. Tony Romo has been a lead analyst for six seasons. Cris Collinsworth has been a lead analyst for 20 years and Troy Aikman has been a lead analyst for 21 seasons. Olsen is already very, very good, and he’s only going to get better.
This is where the Brady conundrum comes into play. If the GOAT decides he’s done with football, he has a $375 million contract with Fox that calls for him to become its No. 1 analyst.
Will Olsen’s emergence force Fox to go with a three-person booth? Could Fox put Brady in studio and make him part of Fox NFL Sunday?
I think at this point, Fox would have to have Brady join Burkhardt and Olsen. If Fox demoted Olsen, who is becoming a fan favorite, for Brady, the network would set up Brady to face a major backlash.
Here’s what else Olsen said during that SI Media Podcast appearance:
“Fox believed in me more than any other network. Some of the other networks, we kind of danced, and there was some interest, but nobody like Fox. So I have nothing but positives to say about my entire experience with the people at Fox. I hope I work with them for the next 20 years. I just hope it’s with the A crew.”
It’s hard to imagine at this point, especially if he has a great Super Bowl, that Fox could pull Olsen from the A crew.
2. Dak Prescott was the subject of many harsh tweets Sunday after throwing two interceptions in Dallas’s loss to San Francisco including from THE COWBOYS’ OWN SOCIAL MEDIA TEAM!
3. I was stunned that more wasn’t made Sunday about Niners kicker Robbie Gould’s saving his team’s lead in the fourth quarter by just casually turning his body into Cowboys kick returner KaVontae Turpin, who was on his way to a game-tying TD. It’s wild that this was the “tackle” that took down Turpin.
4. You know the old adage, “betting doesn’t pay”? Don’t tell that to this guy who turned $5 into more than $72,000 this weekend by correctly predicting the first touchdown scorer in all four playoff games.
5. Is this any way for Travis Kelce to treat the best quarterback in the NFL?
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features a conversation with former Super Bowl champion and current podcast host Chris Long.
You can also watch the SI Media Podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: The Royal Rumble is this Saturday and as one of the WWE's signature pay-per-views, the event has seen numerous memorable moments over the years. All week, I'll feature some of those here. Today, we start with the greatest Royal Rumble enter and exit ever.
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 Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.