JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Shaun King & Co.

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While working out at the gym today, I had the misfortune of watching ESPN News. On the screen was Shaun King, the former Tulane/Bucs quarterback, who was breaking down the play of Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford. King’s thoughts included:

A. Bradford is great on the run.

B. Bradford finds open receivers.

C. Bradford has a strong arm.

And then—honestly for the first time—it fully hit me: Ex-athletes-turned-commentators are completely useless. I know … I know—no duh. But let’s think about it: Outside of rare exceptions (Troy Aikman and Cris Collinsworth come to mind), what athlete/TV commentators ever say anything you or I wouldn’t? Like King, I could have told you Bradford can throw on the run, finds open receivers and has a cannon. Hell, who doesn’t know that?

And yet, the networks, especially ESPN, load up on these people in an effort to look authoritative. I can’t stand 20 seconds of Stu Scott or Chris Berman, but there’s nothing Trent Dilfer or Moose Johnston has said that those two guys couldn’t have, either.

In short, oy.