NGSC Sports

Football Fabulosa – On Former Players as Analysts

Do former players make good analysts just because they played the game? I have long considered weighing in on former players as analysts. This is an issue I have long thought about without ever coming to a solution. On the one hand, I like having former players serve as analysts and reporters for the sports they played. They do bring a unique perspective to the analysis.

On the other hand, players, even former ones, have difficulty criticizing their former peers and rarely, if ever, present a player in a negative fashion. While some exceptions exist to this rule, many notable examples lately have proven this to be largely accurate. It can be a rather delicate transition so you have to take that into consideration.

Take for example Tony Gonzalez who made a rather simple and little astonishing observation on Matt Ryan in his first role as an analysts and felt the need to hem and haw about it. Now I think Gonzalez is going to be a great analysts and I feel pretty sure he learned a valuable lesson there. At least I hope he did.

Do the benefits then outweigh the downside? In terms of what takes place on the field there are reasons to have former players comment and do analysis. Still, the potential for sugar coating is there. Less than candid commentary on what is taking place on the field doesn’t serve anyone. Can players overcome this reluctance to critique other players performance when it is less than satisfactory?

I think it’s difficult to criticize those you have a connection with and that remains very common with players especially those who have played together. Particularly in the NFL, where the players form a fraternity and band together as a general rule. You see former players struggle to break that bond and be independent analysts regularly. It’s possible to overcome for sure but still rather difficult in practice.

The worst thing is when a former player makes a candid assessment and then either retracts or backs away from the initial comments. Or get mad when their comments are used to critique a player. Say what you mean and mean what you say and stick to your guns. Or leave the analysis to those who can and will.

When you waffle all you do is create credibility problems for yourself. As a former player, you should know you can’t be halfway in the game. It requires your full talents. It requires you to often state opinions that might be unpopular. If you can’t do this you don’t belong there. It’s really that simple.

At the end of the day it’s really about one simple maxim. If you can’t take the heat you should stay out of the kitchen.

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