24 February 2014

The NFL Today adds Bart Scott

A week after beginning to change up their personnel by adding Tony Gonzalez and dumping Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe, The NFL Today has finished their changes by adding former Ravens and Jets linebacker Bart Scott. Scott retired in August after being released and spent the fall working on That Other Pregame Show on CBS Sports Network. Now he will join a crew of James Brown, Bill Cowher, Gonzalez, Boomer Esiason and insider Jason La Canfora in studio. Here is my take on the move and to give you a hint, I like it a lot.

It was a little bizarre to see Scott jump right into the media after his playing days ended after he had had numerous run-ins with members of the media during his days in New York. In fact in September, Scott ripped what he defined as media "jerks" in the Jets locker room right before he made his debut on CBSSN. He always had a reputation of being a very vocal player but it still was odd to see him running to a medium that he had been very critical of at times.

And yet, Scott was very good on what turned out to be a solid program. He had strong but fresh opinions and while he was a little edgy at times, it felt authentic and never out of control like we see from some other analysts. He engaged in excellent debate with his fellow analysts, formers Raiders executive Amy Trask and radio host Brandon Tierney, as well as the excellent host Adam Schein. People always want analysis beyond the conventional wisdom and the usual rigamarole, and Scott turned out to give authentic opinions that helped TOPS find its groove in a crowded Sunday morning pregame field. And what may have been the most surprising thing was that Scott always had a smile on his face, something you never saw from him as a player, and helped to showcase an energetic personality that came off very well on TV.

It will be interesting to see the new NFL Today crew come together, but I give them a lot of credit to realize their product had become stale and needed to be refreshed, and as I said last week, they made strong moves to dump Marino and Sharpe, who were mediocre at best. Now by adding Gonzalez and now Scott, you get a pair of fresh faces that have ended their careers within the last couple of years, so hopefully they can give fresh opinions and help liven up the show. I think that they have the ability to do just that.