30 March 2014

Brian Billick is out at Fox Sports, what's next for both?

(AP)
I am a little late on this one but Fox Sports is parting ways with one of their top NFL analysts, Brian Billick. Billick joined Fox back in 2008 and has worked with Thom Brennaman for virtually his entire time with the network, with the two even calling a Divisional Playoff game a year ago. But after Billick looked completely lost at the end of that game in Atlanta, it seems the crew lost some favor at Fox and saw Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch working that coveted second Divisional game this year.

Billick is the second analyst to leave Fox this calendar year as Tim Ryan, who had been working with Chris Myers, left to become the 49ers radio analyst. So now is next for both parties?

Even with his aforementioned meltdown in that Seahawks-Falcons game, I have long been a fan of Billick in the booth and I have considered to be one of the better analysts in the game. He speaks his mind, had good chemistry with Brennaman, and had a little bit of humor as well. He will have his suitors, with the top contenders being NFL Network, where he also worked for the several years on top of Fox, and CBS who currently has an opening with their broadcasting crews after the retirement of Dan Dierdorf. I think he will end up at CBS and will work with Greg Gumbel and considering his background as the coach of the Baltimore Ravens, it is a nice fit.

Now for Fox, they have got some issues to sort out now with Billick and Ryan leaving the ranks and they do not have much depth as is. The part-time analysts, those who are considered the sixth and seventh crews, last year were Ronde Barber (who was unspectacular with Dick Stockton) and Heath Evans (who was solid with Sam Rosen), and theoretically both could be promoted. Fox will not touch the Fox NFL Sunday crews but they could dig into their Fox Sports 1 ranks but while I think the excellent Randy Moss and the solid Brian Urlacher are likely to stay in-studio, I think a guy that could be slid onto a crew is Scott Fujita, who has been pretty good on Fox Football Daily. But an intriguing name could be that of Joel Klatt, who has been one of the brightspots of the network in its infancy. However, I think he has too much of a role as is for them to put him on games, but he is a name to look out for.

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