After a live audition during the Super Bowl last year, NBC has pulled the trigger and hired recently retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward for their programming. Ward will join the Football Night in America pregame show for Sunday Night Football amongst other duties for NBC.
Ward was an analyst for NBC during the Super Bowl this past February, and did a pretty good job. Before Ward's tryout during the big game, Matt predicted that he'd wind up on ESPN as part of "the nebulous ether that is ESPN's fringe NFL analysts." It's probably better for Ward's career that he wound up as a bigger fish in a smaller pond on NBC as opposed to ESPN.
Ward's role with NBC is going to be as a jack of all trades kind of character. In addition to the aforementioned studio analysis on Football Night in America, it appears that Ward will also be covering some college football, doing studio analysis for games on NBC Sports Network. Ward will also appear on NBCSN to provide analysis on NBC Sports Talk.
The most important part of this signing to me is the NBC Sports Network coverage. Is the rebranded network going to have more NFL-focused shows, or are they going to just stick Ward on the panel shows like NBC Sports Talk? A new NFL-specific vehicle would do a lot to help the network in my opinion, and would make sense given the depth of NBC's football analysts.
Whatever ends up happening with him, Ward generally got good reviews across the board for his work with NBC during the Super Bowl, and he should make a solid addition to the team.
[h/t: Pro Football Talk]