NFL Network has one of the best analysts in the business on its roster in Mike Mayock, so it only makes sense that the network might move him into its most prominent position, working in the booth during live broadcasts of regular-season games.
Peter King writes in today’s Monday Morning Quarterback column that there’s likely to be a change in the Thursday night announcer lineup for NFL Network games this fall, and that change could mean Mayock in the booth.
What’s not clear is what that would mean for last season’s analysts, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen. Maybe that means Theismann and Millen are both out, maybe they’d move to the sideline, maybe one of them would stay and work as a co-analyst with Mayock in a three-man booth. But it appears that a change is coming.
And a change should come. Frankly, Theismann and Millen just weren’t a very good pair of analysts on the NFL Network broadcast team. They didn’t have much chemistry together and didn’t offer the kind of Xs and Os insight that Mayock delivers so brilliantly.
Also, while this isn’t completely fair to Theismann and Millen, their pasts may be coming back to haunt them. Theismann got pushed out of the Monday Night Football booth in favor of Ron Jaworski, and Jaworski is so clearly superior in the same role that it makes it hard to think of Theismann as anything other than second-rate. And Millen, as president of the Detroit Lions, was nothing short of the worst front-office decision-maker in NFL history. Millen was always fine as a broadcaster before taking the job in Detroit, but knowing that he wrecked the Lions makes it difficult to respect his opinions.
Mayock has no such baggage, and he has earned a high-profile role. The best move NFL Network could make would be to go back to a two-man booth, teaming play-by-play man Bob Papa with Mayock.