Play by Play: Joe Buck (Pick #4)
-As stunning as it is to see Awful Announcing select Joe Buck, his work during the most recent playoffs was stellar as he showed more enthusiasm in his delivery. He'll give us an established #1 play by play man as he continues to win vocal fans on Twitter over with his work.
Analyst: Cris Collinsworth (Pick #5)
-Collinsworth is the best analyst not just in the NFL, but perhaps in any sport. He's not afraid to call out players and coaches when need be and can relate his analysis to viewers. His reunion with Joe Buck gives AABC a true #1 broadcast booth that has experience calling multiple Super Bowls.
Play by Play: Gus Johnson (Pick #13)
-Of course Team AA wants Gus Johnson on our side, and I couldn't risk not waiting for him in the later rounds. The draftniks may call it a reach, but this is the pick our fanbase is clamoring for. Here, Gus finally gets his due as a top NFL announcer and his partnership with Gruden will quickly become the most popular pairing in the country.
Analyst: Jon Gruden (Pick #12)
-"This guy" can do it all for my network. Be a top game analyst, work with potential draft coverage, provide studio specials, and all of it with unmatched enthusiasm.
Host: Rich Eisen (Pick #28)
-I was happy with either Eisen or Wingo late on in the draft to fill this slot. He's not a rumblin' stumblin' anchor, but a skilled TV veteran who has made his mark as the face of NFL Network. I have no doubt he'll have good chemistry in the studio with our analysts.
Analyst #1: Boomer Esiason (Pick #21)
-Boomer gets lost in the shuffle amongst the cacophonous Sunday morning shows, but he's one of the best studio analysts in the game. A television veteran that can do his best work at the AABC network not being hampered by an overcrowded set. Most of all, Boomer's not afraid to give a strong opinion. And, if I want to get in the radio simulcasting business, he can even work there too.
Analyst #2: Rodney Harrison (Pick #29)
-This was my toughest pick. The AABC needs a defensive voice and Harrison, Marcellus Wiley, and Darren Woodson were all considered. In the end, I went with Harrison's energy to compliment our studio coverage. He, Esiason, and Eisen can provide a nice balance of insight and entertainment.
Reporter: Peter King (Pick #20)
-With the NFL becoming a year round sport, I need an insider that can do it all - break news, work in the studio, and even write for our network website. Peter King may not break the news that Schefter or Glazer does, but he has more tools to bring the AABC.
Wild Card: Sean Payton (Pick #36)
-Payton has been rumored to be finding a home on television during his enforced coaching sabbatical, and who wouldn't want his football mind on their set? We're going all-in with the most explosive hire imaginable. Not only do we get Payton's first full-length sit-down interview, but his excellent and contemporary coaching insights in the studio. He's moonlighted for ESPN in the past, so he'll be comfortable in front of the cameras. America loves nothing more than a good redemption story, and that will get to play out on our network. And, after Joe Vitt leads the Saints to a Super Bowl victory in New Orleans this year (a Saints fan can dream, right?), Payton just might have enough reason to stick around and enjoy his new gig.
At AABC, we focused on bringing in NFL personalities that can both entertain and inform viewers with honest, straight-forward analysis. That's our mission as a network, and it's admittedly a tight line to walk. We want to add to your enjoyment in watching a game and being a fan of the NFL. I went immediately for the top play by play man (Buck) and analyst (Collinsworth) in the sport as well as the announcer with the biggest fanbase (Gus Johnson) and the analyst with the most energy and potential (Gruden). You can choose whether or not to watch pre and postgame coverage or other outlets, but you have to watch the games. And at the AABC, we truly have two top broadcast booths with Buck & Collinsworth and Gus & Gruden. In fact, we'll even rotate the top games amongst the pairs and finally give Gus the opportunity to call the biggest games. In the studio, our trio of Eisen, Esiason, Harrison, and even Payton and King can provide serious analysis in a compelling way as well.
The best element of our network though is our flexibility. Gruden and Collinsworth can contribute in the studio or sitting down with today's best players. Imagine Gruden and Sean Payton breaking down coach's film together or Gruden having a QB Camp style sitdown with Tom Brady. Peter King can provide news, insights, opinions, and interviews with his connections in the league. Eisen is a versatile studio host that can adeptly handle a roundtable, interview, and highlights. And, Sean Payton is the perfect wild card. The best analysis comes from a contemporary voice and Payton can provide that in the studio and even the game broadcast if need be. In addition, we're a young network - only King and Collinsworth are over the age of 50. From top to bottom the AABC network strikes the balance of real analysis and opinion and making the broadcasts more enjoyable for viewers and fans of the NFL.
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