12 January 2014

How will the NFL on CBS replace Dan Dierdorf?

Starting with the 2014 NFL season, there will be a new most tenured NFL analyst as the current holder of that title, Dan Dierdorf of the NFL on CBS, has retired after calling his final game on Saturday, the AFC Divisional matchup between the Colts and the Patriots. Dierdorf, one of the all-time offensive linemen who played 13 years with the then-St. Louis Cardinals, has been broadcasting games for three decades starting at CBS in 1985, moving to ABC and Monday Night Football in 1987 and then moving back to CBS in 1999 where he has worked since. While he has lost some speed off his fastball over the last several years, Dierdorf was one of the top analysts ever when he was at the top of his game and did some brilliant work back when he was on MNF.

Dierdorf has been on the B team since rejoining the Eye network, teaming with Verne Lundquist, Dick Enberg and Greg Gumbel, which means he calls the coveted second divisional game. But with his retirement, where does CBS go from here?

For a few years now, folks (including myself) have been clamoring for CBS to promote their C crew of Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts ahead of Gumbel and Dierdorf, as they have developed into an excellent crew as well as the finest on the network and much better than the Gumbel-Dierdorf crew. And with Gumbel getting up there in age at 67, which I must say he looks very good for 67, and now needing a new partner, I fully expect CBS to make Eagle-Fouts the B crew. With that, Gumbel will be moved to the C crew where I think he will be teamed with Rich Gannon, who CBS is high on. Gannon, who works on the D crew with Marv Albert, will be replaced by Steve Tasker, who will be replaced on the F crew with Bill Macatee by CBS Sports Network analyst Adam Archuleta. That's just my prediction, so take that for what you will.

But I will state that that is my prediction if everything just about stays the same. So hypothetically let's say CBS decides to mix up the NFL Today and moves, say, Boomer Esiason from the studio to put on games, either on the B crew or even on the A crew if they want to demote Phil Simms (which would be a welcome development in this space) or move him to the studio, where he is a much better fit. I wouldn't be surprised if CBS wanted to change up their studio show as they consistently trail Fox NFL Sunday each week. It is important to note that this is just a suggestion, not a report of what I think is likely to happen.

My projection also does not make note if a notable player or two retires and is promptly hired by CBS to work on their commentator crews. The guy I have in mind that I see that CBS would hire promptly if he were to retire would be Peyton Manning, who would be a hot broadcasting commodity for every network when he chooses to retire if he chose to move into broadcasting. Hypothetically if he were to retire, I think that CBS would be a likely destination for him since they have the familiarity due to his career in the AFC and now they have a hole in their broadcasting crews on the analysis side with the Dierdorf retirement. Of course, there is no guarantee that Manning will retire this season, and that he would immediately jump into broadcasting, but just a thought.

All of that in mind, I do think my former guesstimate will be what ultimately happens so you know where to turn when it inevitably does not happen.

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