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Bomani Jones to Mina Kimes: rating the NFL’s best analysts | NFL


It has been 18 months since we updated our list of the highest NFL analysts, journalists, and opinion-givers. Here’s how things stand before Tom Brady arrives in 2035.

1) Bomani Jones (ESPN/HBO)

In a field flooded with groupthink, Jones stands out as a novel voice. He’s well-known for his commentary on the intersection of sports, culture and race. When commenting in that sphere, Jones is unmatched.

But to place him in that box alone could be a disservice to his talent, displayed so well on his excellent podcast. Few chronicle the not-as-important but just-as-delightful intersection of stupidity and hilarity that helps push the NFL from a multibillion dollar sporting enterprise into something closing on performance art.

Jones toggles from commentary on sleaze to schemes with ease, as joyful declaring flaws in a quarterback as he’s dismantling the draft system.

With his ESPN deal set to run out, Jones will grow to be sports media’s most coveted free agent.

2) Mina Kimes (ESPN)

TV analyst. Podcaster. Painter. Walking Meme. Kimes is an integral a part of ESPN’s operation.

NFL Live is comfortably essentially the most informative, entertaining football vehicle currently on the network. Kimes, together with Dan Orlovsky, Marcus Spears, and Laura Rutledge, analyzes the sport from all angles: The X’s & O’s, analytics, roster construction, locker-room dynamics, and the whole lot in between. NFL Live offers the customary bombast and hot air blowing that dominates the sports media landscape but maintains space for subtlety and nuance. At the basis of the show, there’s the need to clarify the “why” to the audience. And Kimes’ mastery of analytics, combined with along with her fandom, makes her the best person to clarify the why – why team X is doing Y, and why Y should/would/could upset a fanbase.

ESPN’s output across all sports is now soaked in hot takes, a results of the Stephen A Smith-ification of the network (which will not be all the time a foul thing!). Kimes is considered one of the rare analysts to stick with reasoned, thoughtful evaluation.

3) Jenny Vrentas (Recent York Times)

Within the era of ‘Mr Editor’, Vrentas’ reporting has been crucial. For individuals who track these varieties of things, you’ll note a paucity of reporting from league rights holders on the allegations leveled against Deshaun Watson and the walking controversy that’s Daniel Snyder and the Washington Commanders.

Vrentas was there when the Watson accusations first got here to light. And she or he has subsequently written a number follow-up pieces that include independently corroborating an allegation from an accuser who didn’t file a lawsuit against Watson, revealing the extent of the Watson accusations, and outlining the Houston Texans’ role in securing non-disclosure agreements for his or her former quarterback.

4) Domonique Foxworth (ESPN)

Foxworth stands out from the pundits who refuse to tackle the NFL’s flaws. He’s a former player, turned Harvard Business School graduate, turned NFLPA executive, turned TV analyst. His resumé on and off the sphere makes his situation different. He doesn’t need ESPN, nor the TV payday. That permits him to blaspheme the church from inside – which could mean showcasing the pointlessness of the artform. Given his background, Foxworth is joyful leaping from issues around collective bargaining to breaking down coverages to difficult considered one of the league’s biggest stars over their dishonesty. The worldwide leader has nobody else who can slide into all three roles.

5) Billy Gil (Meadowlark Media)

It has been a banner 18 months for Billy ‘Guillermo’ Gil of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. The NFL owns Sundays however it’s Gil who owns post-gameday Mondays. His weekly Useless Sound Montage, a rundown of the best coach-isms and robot-player cliches, stays good.

Away from the orbit of the Walt Disney Company, a league partner, Gil is free to tackle the league from fresh angles. He was the defining voice of the primary NFL musical, The Big Game. A musical about head trauma, Brandon Staley, and the RedZone’s Witching Hour shouldn’t work, however it definitely exists.

Gil can also be the co-host of the indomitable STUpodity podcast, where he covers the league through conversations with the good and good, including Joba Chamberlain, Greg Cote, and Kenny G. As ever with Gil, hand him whatever ingredients you want, and watch him cook.

6) Diante Lee (The Athletic)

Football is a fancy game, but one of the best X’s & O’s analysts find ways to navigate the audience through the maze by making things seem easy. Nobody does that higher than Lee.

Lee continues to be a coach, and his evaluation of the sport is designed to show moderately than to flash his own credentials. Now a mainstay of The Athletic Football Show, Lee strips away as much of the footballese as possible while still providing the insight that hits the erogenous zones of each football nerd.

7) Gregg Rosenthal, Dan Hanzus, Marc Sessler (Across the NFL)

You can not separate the three most important hosts of the Across the NFL podcast and TV vehicle. Mixing humor, evaluation, and ruthless honesty, the trio have built a real one-stop shop for fans. The show is the No 1 NFL podcast within the UK, drawing fans to the circus tent with mirth, before offering keen-eyed observations and updates on the league at large. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say the show has done more for the expansion of the sport internationally than the league sending a ropey Jaguars team to London every fall.

8) Pat McAfee (The Pat McAfee Show)

McAfee has grow to be the go-to for fans and journalists alike to listen to what star players really think. Aaron Rodgers, the NFL’s moaner-in-chief, has a weekly residency/therapy session with McAfee throughout the season.

McAfee’s role is different from that of anyone else on this list. Part stand-up comic, part heel, part former player, part talkshow host, McAfee’s Everyman persona gets those across the game to open up in ways we don’t normally hear – even when he feels no obligation to ward off on guests. Is it journalism? No. Is it attempting to be? In fact not. But by allowing players to talk in an unfettered way, he has helped to shrink the barrier between the celebrities who populate the league and those that watch them.

9) David Samson (Nothing Personal)

Samson is the previous team president of MLB’s Miami Marlins, who now hosts Nothing Personal on CBS. Samson is a controversial figure in Florida: he was considered one of the pioneers of using the general public purse to fund the plaything of billionaire owners, drawing financing for the Marlins’ stadium from taxpayers’ money. And he continues to be used as a sounding board by ownership groups seeking to drain as much money from the taxpayer as possible.

Since leaving the Marlins, though, Samson has carved out a lane because the premier voice covering sports business and the inner operations of franchises within the US and beyond.

Former executives operate under a code of omertà. They don’t wish to reveal trade secrets or criticize former colleagues and rivals in case they’re invited back into the inner sanctum. Samson is different. He revels in revealing the underbelly of big-time sports. Whether it’s the NFL’s internal politics, stadium financing, the dynamics of governing a locker room, Samson provides intel that is commonly withheld from the general public.

10) Aqib Talib (Fox/Amazon)

As salaries have ballooned for the second-man-in-the-booth, their performances have dipped. Tony Romo spends the majority of the regular season phoning it in, only bringing his A-game for the playoffs. Troy Aikman is solid but unspectacular. Ditto for Cris Collinsworth. Greg Olsen is a rising star at Fox, but one who is about to be shuffled aside when Tom Brady joins the network.

Talib is the strongest departure from the establishment. His less-than-polished style might not be to everyone’s liking, but he offers a unique perspective than the standard voices on gameday. Amazon snapping up Talib for a national broadcast was a sensible move. He’s already pinched Romo’s play-guessing crown and greater than matches the previous quarterback’s infectious enthusiasm.

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