Jason Witten may be a fine broadcaster, but there are better options to call NFL games.
1. ESPN reported Thursday that Jason Witten is retiring and joining its “Monday Night Football” booth as a lead analyst.
This isn’t shocking since CBS struck gold with Tony Romo last season. TV is a copycat business, so ESPN figured it would try to recreate the magic and hire another Cowboy to go from the field directly to the booth in a prominent analyst role.
I’m not going to judge the Witten hire without ever hearing him call a game, but the first reactions is that it does seem a little uninspiring. He played for 15 seasons. Has he ever said anything memorable? Has he ever shown any personality?
Networks are never going to think outside the box. It petrifies them. They prefer cookie cutter. Exhibit A: Before settling on Witten, ESPN was interested in Kurt Warner.
But a man can dream, and my dream is that some network will take a risk some time and hire an ex-player who isn’t afraid to push the envelope and be original. Two names that come to mind are Arian Foster and Terrell Owens. Foster, in my opinion, would be an instant hit calling NFL games because he’s unique. Of course, the NFL would probably prevent a network from hiring him because he wouldn’t sugarcoat things and would probably talk about issues such as CTE, players using weed ot help with pain, etc.
Owens was a straight shooter throughout his career and continues to pull no punches on Twitter. He would automaticallyt bring some excitement to any NFL booth.
Maybe Witten will do that, and he should be given a chance. But the hire still seems like one big shoulder shrug.
2. I’m not defending the guy who taunted James Harden here, but if you’re an NBA superstar, you can’t slap the guy’s phone out of his hands. You don’t need do deal with the headache that’s going to come with this story.
3. Good thing he doesn’t just shut up and dribble.
4. Bat flips = good.
5. I’m a little late on this, but the upcoming (May 25) Showtime documentary on MMA and WWE announcers, Mauro Ranallo, which explores his battle with mental illness, looks riveting. Set your DVRs now.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features an interview with SiriusXM radio host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. The Doggie talks about his partner of 19 years Mike Francesa returning to WFAN, where his relationship stands with Mike, why he thinks Boomer Esiason is a hypocrite, the challenge of doing radio at SiriusXM, the worst trend in radio, the Internet’s impact on sports radio and much more. You can listen below or download the podcast on iTunes.
7. RANDOM “SOPRANOS” VIDEO OF THE DAY: Greatest acted scene in the history of the show.
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IN CLOSING: I said the other day I liked the Cavs +170 in the series against the Raptors, so it would be foolish to risk any money in Game 2 when you’ve gotten a road game already, but LeBron +6.5 is too good to pass up.