Ranking the Quarterbacks Who Went Straight Into Broadcasting

Ranking the Quarterbacks Who Went Straight Into Broadcasting


Ranking the Quarterbacks Who Went Straight Into Broadcasting

Tony Romo is going to move directly into the #1 spot as a color analyst with CBS next season, continuing a long tradition of quarterbacks immediately moving into a national broadcasting position.

Going back to the 1970 merger, 23 different quarterbacks have called a game on a national network, either NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC/ESPN, or TNT, after being out of football for a year or less. In fact, with few exceptions (Joe Namath, Ron Jaworksi among them), most quarterbacks who would go into broadcasting did so almost immediately upon retirement. Some stood the test of time; others are probably best remembered for other things.

These rankings are based on longevity of working as a game analyst, and prestige of the position, and not necessarily personal views about the quality of the work.

#23 Matt Hasselbeck (2014 with FOX, retired after 2015)

Hasselbeck actually called a game on his bye week, a year before retiring. He has worked with ESPN since as a television analyst.

#22 Neil O’Donnell (2005 with FOX, retired after 2003)

I don’t know what’s less memorable, that Neil O’Donnell called two games with FOX, or that O’Donnell didn’t retire until after the 2003 season.

#21 Brady Quinn (2015 with FOX, retired after 2014)

FOXBORO, MA – SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Brady Quinn #9 of the New York Jets throws the ball before taking on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 12, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Quinn has called 3 NFL games in two seasons for FOX, while also working as a college football analyst.

#20 Jim Kelly (1997 with NBC, retired after 1996)

Kelly called games for NBC in 1997, the same year he found out about his son Hunter’s cancer diagnosis. It was the only year he worked as an analyst.

#19 Roman Gabriel (1978 with CBS, retired after 1977)

Gabriel lasted only two seasons with CBS. He took the head coaching job at Cal Poly Pomona for the 1980 season, and also did work with the Panthers radio broadcast in his home state of North Carolina.

#18 Bart Starr (1973 with CBS, retired after 1971)

DALLAS, TX – FEBRUARY 02: Green Bay Packers legend Bart Starr, who is accepting the FedEx Air NFL Player of the Year award on behalf of Aaron Rodgers, speaks with the press at the Super Bowl XLV media center on February 2, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Bart Starr spent 2 seasons with CBS, including getting in the booth for the Super Bowl in his first season, before becoming head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

#17 Fran Tarkenton (1979 with ABC MNF, retired after 1978)

Tarkenton spent four years on Monday Night Football working in place of Don Meredith for two games a year, with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford, because Meredith had a contract to call 14 games and stuck to it after the NFL expanded the schedule.


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