Earlier this week, Peter Schrager and Esquire put together a fabulous, well-sourced list of the Top 10 current NFL players that you'll see next on television. Given the sheer amount of NFL coverage and five networks in play (ESPN, NBC, CBS, Fox, NFLN), there will always be jobs available for players that want to make the transition to being in front of the cameras. Esquire talked to agents, TV execs, writers, and nearly everyone in the industry to compile their list. The best part about the list is the honesty of unnamed industry insiders speaking about notable flops. "More often than not, we have been wrong. Tiki Barber was supposed to be the best at this. He sucked. Joe Montana? The same thing." (I'm guessing ESPN knew Emmitt Smith was going to be terrible from the beginning.)
Below we've listed the Esquire Top 10, but why not have even more fun with the list. Since we've just endured National Signing Day, we'll also project where each player will analyze in their post-playing media career. If only Peyton Manning were able to hold a press conference and pick up a CBS hat from a table, that might actually be compelling television.
1) Peyton Manning
Projection: CBS #1 Booth
Analysis: One agent quoted says Manning could have any seat he wants in broadcasting. A media reporter says he'll be the most sought after ex-player in the history of television. Seeing as how Peyton Manning has never met an interview, commercial, or TV camera he didn't like so a media career is extremely likely. With his career in doubt, that may happen sooner rather than later. The perfect fit for him is stepping into the #1 CBS booth alongside Jim Nantz. Top game analysts at each network are all about quarterbacks (Simms, Aikman, Jaws) and it's conceivable for Manning to immediately be among the best of the bunch from Day 1. A megastar like Peyton Manning shouldn't be crowded out in a studio with loud noises cancelling him out. The booth is where he belongs. With AFC games on CBS and Phil Simms' analysis seeing a sharp decline in the last few years, it makes too much sense to not make this happen... if CBS has the gumption to make such a high-profile move.