Just listening to public reaction to the possibility of the NFL Network not renewing Michael Irvin’s contract, it doesn’t sound like the Playmaker would be missed.
The Hall of Fame Cowboy’s contract will expire before the 2016 season starts, according to The Sporting News.
Irvin gets a lot of flack from NFL fans who don’t care for his boisterous (loud) takes.
Nothing new there though. 95 percent of football fans hate 99 percent of sports broadcasters and feel like they could do a better job themselves of commentating.
Regular Joes don’t care for guys like Michael Irvin getting cushy gigs behind the mic based on what they did as players. In all honesty, there had to have been thousands of better-qualified guys to do what Irvin was hired to do for ESPN, then later the NFL Network.
But of course, those guys didn’t win three Super Bowls on one of the most dominant teams in NFL history. Those rings alone guaranteed Irvin an automatic eternal career in broadcasting, even though he’s put that career in jeopardy with some off-the-mic issues in the past.
If Irvin is allowed to walk away from the NFL Network, there’s no shortage of former players ready to take his spot. So fans looking for a different option behind the mic better get ready for more of the same.
The NFL Network has a stable of unqualified guys who can step in for the Playmaker should he head off for another gig or the unemployment line. Many of those former athletes are even less knowledgeable / likable than Irvin by the way.
While I’m actually a fan of Irvin, I get the resentment that comes with TV networks looking to hire any former athlete who can complete a sentence. These networks want fans at home to see what former players think about what’s going on in today’s game.
However, the networks also want the access to today’s players that comes with former players looking to be the ones interviewing.
There is a different level of trust between a current NFL quarterback who is talking to a broadcaster who has thrown a few touchdowns in a Super Bowl or two. And interviews with two guys who have spent time on the gridiron does feel more like casual bar talk than a stuffy interview with a real broadcaster who looks like an accountant.
The applause is pretty loud when guys like Michael Irvin loses a job or is simply not re-signed. But in TV land, change is slow.
They stick to the same formula until they are forced to make a change for the better. Just take a look at the anchor desks of all the major sports networks. They are littered with guys past their prime for playing the game, and not really suited to commentate on said game.
Yet there they sit, ready to spew their knowledge on the football viewing world, whether fans like it or not.