We want to take this time during the off-season to recognize broadcasters, commentators, and analysts. During this day and age of media and technology, sports talk is an aspect of the game that we really enjoy. For this segment of “Athletes Turned Analysts”, we discuss two guys that truly belong on the tube!
Keyshawn Johnson came into the NFL very much in the same fashion as he left it: TALKING. Who could forget his autobiography “Just Throw Me the Damn Ball”, which chronicled his rookie year with the Jets. You had a feeling that once his pro career ended that he would end up as part of the media. He solidified that notion by joining ESPN on the very same day that he announced his retirement from the NFL in 2007.
Johnson started his career at ESPN by working on the network’s 2007 NFL draft broadcast, which led to analyst positions on Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown.
One of the most popular segments on the whole network , “C’mon MAN!” was created by Keyshawn. Each member of the panel on ESPN’S Monday Night Countdown presents their displeasure for a boneheaded play on or off the field. In fact, this is one of my favorite “C’mon Man!” clips, featuring the feat of a man with the same name as the HE of this blog:
Keyshawn has actually become one of my favorite Athletes Turned Analysts. He’s from my generation, so I remember him when he first came into the league back in 1996, but he’s not so far removed from the game that he can’t identify with today’s NFL player. His chemistry with his fellow panelists is quite evident. Who else can get Ditka to say “C’mon MAN!” every week?
No player uses the “Game Recognize Game” approach to being a NFL analyst better than Deion Saunders. Since Deion is true to who he has always been, his style on the NFL Network as an analyst is widely accepted. As a player Deion was cocky, and he backed up all the talk and flash on the field. His opinion is widely respected by fans and players alike. In fact, there are countless times when a player is being interview on NFL Game Day Morning and that player makes a point to shout out Deion Sanders. Regardless if they admit it or not, players love it when they make Deion’s highlight segment “21st and Prime”.
Fans like me love the colorful, keep-it-real commentary Deion brings to the media. While on TV, Deion is the analyst that comes up with all the slogans I love: “Pay the Man!” “Hold.On.Playa” “Cam! (sounding like Heavy D’s Jam)”. One of the funniest moments on NFL Network occurred during their Top 100 players series in which Deion was ranked #34. He was APPALLED and he let it be known! Check out his reaction thanks to this video from NFL.com:
Reactions like that is why people appreciate Deion.
Jokes and comedy aside, Deion brings a sharp eye and tongue to this profession. What I admire the most is that he uses his continued success as a platform for many community service efforts. With over 360,000 Twitter followers Deion is able to still get the support of his fans for these community commitments. This Hall of Fame Player continues to be a difference maker for the NFL.