Play by Play: Ian Eagle (Pick #17)
-I'm happy to make Ian Eagle my lead announcer. He calls games the way they should be called, professionally and basic. He doesn't use catch phrases (Hello, friends) or histrionics (Sorry, Gus). I don't see a comedy show in his future (Artie Lange, anyone?), nor will he be bigger than the game (do you believe in miracles?) He'll just do football.
Analyst: Phil Simms (Pick #25)
-I think Aikman and Simms are the two best analysts in the game. Maybe I'll throw Collinsworth on there, too. I love his knowledge of the game. He's especially effective at telling viewers what's going to happen, not just what already happened. Bob Costas in the 6th round is the steal of this draft so far. This pick is second.
Play by Play: Brad Nessler (Pick #32)
-It’s obvious that I want a no-frills broadcast booth. NFL Network’s Brad Nessler is my kind of announcer. He has a strong voice and his calls are clean and clear. He will work well with whatever analyst I’m going to throw at him. And he doesn’t draw undue attention to himself. My stars are on the field, not the broadcast booth. Nessler knows that.
Analyst: Kirk Herbstreit (Pick #33)
-I am going to select the best college football analyst on TV today: Kirk Herbstreit. He’s not just a college guy; he’s a football guy. He knows football. But more importantly, he knows how to relay that knowledge to the TV viewer. It would not take him long to get up to speed on the NFL.
Host: James Brown (Pick #1)
-The gap between JB and all the other studio hosts is bigger than the gap at any other position.
Analyst #1: Tony Dungy (Pick #9)
-He's the best studio analyst on TV right now. He's insightful. He's likable. And most importantly to me, he's a former coach who is not likely to coach again. That allows me to trust his opinions more than others.
Analyst #2: Ron Jaworski (Pick #16)
-Ron Jaworski is the man most people think should still be on MNF. Incredibly well prepared; good on camera; and not afraid to be critical. He'll bring a smart energy to the studio and will be great when paired with Dungy.
Reporter: Rachel Nichols (Pick #24)
-I'm a broadcast network looking to staff my NFL Sundays. I need diversity in my on-air ranks. I have the smartest football show on TV right now. I'm a TV network; I don't care about breaking news. I'll leave that for my website and Twitter. My version of a TV reporter looks just like Nichols: well connected and hard working. She'll get the interviews I need. And she'll ask the right questions. She also will give my viewers some of the best feature stories in the business.
Wild Card: Mike Pereira (Pick #8)
-He may have been available later in the draft, but I wanted to make sure that I got him on my side. He provides a service to the viewers that nobody else can match on any other network. He helps set my football telecasts apart from everyone else. This is my wildcard pick.
Everybody overvalues play-by-play announcers and game analysts. The fact is that when games are close, people watch. When games are blowouts, people turn off the TV. No on-air talent — not even John Madden in his prime — has ever been able to stop that trend. People will unfavorably compare my play-by-play men, Ian Eagle and Brad Nessler, to Al Michaels and Joe Buck. And they’d be right. But it doesn’t matter. If I get the Cowboys-Giants, and they play a close game, I’m winning the ratings battle regardless of who I put in the booth. If Al Michaels winds up with the Jaguars and Bengals, and it’s a blowout, his network will lose the ratings battle. I was looking for professional announcers who don’t offend. That’s what I got.
As one of four networks with NFL rights in this draft, the only way I can stand out is with my pre- and post-game shows. It’s the only chance my coverage of the NFL will be different from everyone else’s. And my studio show is the best, by far. In James Brown, I have the best studio host in the business. In Tony Dungy, I have the best analyst in the business. In Ron Jaworski, I have the most prepared analyst in the business. In Mike Pereria, I can provide a service no other network can offer. And Rachel Nichols is a perfect compliment, given her league and team relationships and interviewing style. I don’t need to break news on my TV show; I need someone who has access to the newsmakers and can get them on camera. Nichols does that.
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