NEW YORK — The old adage that timing is everything is not always applicable. Especially when it comes to potential NFL broadcasters.
Like Sean McVay. The Los Angeles Rams coach was once again pondering his future. Speculation ran deep, as it did after his team won the Super Bowl, that he had a serious interest in the broadcast booth or a studio gig.
McVay ended the speculation Friday, saying he would be returning to coach the Rams. Some industry sources said the broadcasting option was off the table because the marquee gigs, fitting someone with McVay’s magnetic personality and coaching reputation, are all filled.
Some even seemed to be offended by their own perception that McVay thought he could just abandon the Rams and parachute into a high profile, high paying broadcast job, when he feels like it.
Christopher (Mad Dog) Russo, on his SiriusXM gabfest, went as far as saying McVay is so arrogant he thinks he can become “the next” John Madden.
“He thinks doing two Chunky Soup commercials is a big deal. McVay is not going to become a cultural icon on TV like Madden,” Russo said on SXM. “… McVay isn’t going to be Moses at the mountain top delivering a [football] sermon.”
Yet, for the record, McVay has never indicated he sees himself as the next Madden. There is nobody currently working as a No. 1 NFL TV analyst who can come close to making that claim. If financial compensation is the only barometer, CBS’ Tony Romo is the leader of the pack. If that makes him numero uno than the performance bar is set low, giving McVay a decent chance to vault over it.
Those who explain away McVay’s broadcast prospects by saying all the current chairs are filled, underestimated the lengths and creative thinking network executives will roll out to hire suddenly available marquee stars or a voice they see as the next big star. Hitting paydirt with the next big thing enhances the suit’s own reputation on a number of levels.
The network executives have proven time after time that they can’t help themselves. NBC Sports execs thought they had a No. 1-analyst-in-waiting when they hired Drew Brees. That move failed, miserably.
ESPN had assembled a quality Monday Night Football team of Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese, only to blow it up then break the bank to hire two proven stars, Troy Aikman and Joe Buck. That transaction was not a gamble.
If someone at a network is already enamored with McVay’s potential (published reports had Amazon offering him $20 million per to join its NFL Stream Team last season), and already discussed his TV future with him or his representatives, there will be a microphone waiting for McVay when and if he decides to leave coaching.
An NFL seat won’t be McVay’s only option. With the college football TV landscape growing rapidly, a marquee spot could open up for McVay on one of the network packages.
It’s really simple, as long as McVay keeps flashing his personality, and brings the buzz, his decision to stay with the Rams only delays the inevitable.