The best NFL analyst of television is . . . (and commentary on NFL talking heads in general)

. . . Tom Jackson of ESPN, hands down. He simply is the most thorough, most detailed in his analysis, most accessible to both the casual and serious fan by his carefully crafted words, in other words he’s the most professional NFL analyst on any TV channel anywhere, and his “sidekick” Boomer Esaison, pardon me, Chris “Boomer” Berman, actually I think he’s supposed to be Chris’ sidekick but no-never-mind, just feeds off Tom’s well and wealth of pro football knowledge.

Actually, I think John Madden of ABC’s “Monday Night Football” is the most knowledgeable of all TV football talking heads, even more than Tom by about one or two football IQ points on a scale where they’re both football genuises, but geez, for a guy who apparently doesn’t drink or at least doesn’t do broadcast while under the influence like another (now gone) well-respected NFL analyst and game play-by-play guy used to do all the time, John Madden has the most irritating, most long-winded, most in-articulate rambling-babbling-mumbling style that is great for comedians to do caricatures of but which just drives me nuts if I let it if/when I try to listen to him actually speak.

Usually, when I watch Monday Night Football like I did tonight, I’ll turn the sound off and put some music on and also do “homework” at my lapdesk while watching the game, just to keep from having to hear those words which would drive anyone who speaks even basic American English absolutely batty from time to time.

But good ol’ smoothy, Tom Jackson, he could analyze the NYC Yellow Pages and make it sound interesting, he’s so totally perfect at his craft of being an on-air football entrail-reader. I really do wish Tom would be persuaded/paid to do a Books-On-Tape…while I’m not a Books-On-Tape fan, seldom listen to any BOT, I’d buy whatever he narrated just to soak in that perfect, almost Peter Thomas-ish speaking style of his, and oh yes, he definitely knows the NFL, too.

Oh, which Sunday pre-game show do I normally watch, Fox or CBS? Well, usually, neither, though when I do have time to watch them, I usually am watching Fox mostly…CBS, do yourself and get rid of Shannon Sharpe, he’s a Jimmy-The-Greek-Snyder-Incident (Jimmy The Greek, former CBS analyst who made a near-racist comment on the air and was fired for it immediately) just waiting to happen…Shannon just loves to hear the sound of his own voice, and while not as irritating as Madden’s, he’s so given to hyperbole then The White House really should hire him for cheerleading-spin-control, except for the fact he’s probably “too black” for them (I’m sorry, but Condy Rice and Colin Powell while African-Americans are not black, not like Shannon is). I do find myself watching the Fox NFL Pre-Game show as much for the 2-minute comedy routines of Frank Caliendo, whose caricature of John Madden is more Madden-esk than even Madden in real-life and who is probably the best impressionist/vocal caricaturist since Frank Gorshin, and I can’t help but admit my guilty pleasures of actually liking analyst Terry Bradshaw and host James Brown (the Harvard Grad James Brown, not the soul singer) and not disliking the other two dudes who also are straight-up football guys themselves.

Now, if Fox would just hire Tom Jackson away from ESPN and let him replace one of those two other gentlemen on their pre-game show, Hhhhmmm….


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