When Football Season Begins, It Will Be Covered by a Dramatically Different Media Thanks to Huge Turnover

When Football Season Begins, It Will Be Covered by a Dramatically Different Media Thanks to Huge Turnover


When Football Season Begins, It Will Be Covered by a Dramatically Different Media Thanks to Huge Turnover

Nearly a year ago, we conducted a pair of media drafts to build our own fictional television networks — one for college football and one for the NFL. Since then, the industry has undergone dramatic change. Wholesale layoffs at ESPN hit front-facing talent particularly hard. Long-tenured and venerable voices hung up their microphones and rode into retirement.

Revisiting these drafts, it’s striking how much turnover has taken place in such a short period of time. Even by a conservative reading, 15 of the 54 personalities selected in the college football version are no longer with the same company, or have transitioned into significantly different roles within the same company. And that doesn’t even include Tim Tebow, who has struck gold with his powerful baseball swing.


College Football

First Round

Kirk Herbstreit

Tim Tebow: Not technically a change as he signed a multi-year extension with ESPN and will appear on the SEC Network when the season kicks off. But it should be noted that he is currently a baseball player, and is performing quite well.

Joe Tessitore

Rece Davis

Verne Lundquist: Retired from the college football booth.

Gus Johnson


Second Round

Todd Blackledge

Paul Finebaum

Brent Musburger: Retired to pursue his real passion: over-unders.

Chris Fowler

Lee Corso

Bruce Feldman: Still employed by Fox as a sideline reporter but now will write for Sports Illustrated after the hard pivot to video.


Third Round

Scott Van Pelt

Jesse Palmer: No longer working the booth with Musburger. Studio guy now

Clay Travis

Danny Kanell: Laid off from ESPN.

Steve Spurrier: Drafted on speculation, but taking his talents back to the Florida program.

Stewart Mandel: No longer with Fox. Heading college football vertical for The Athletic


Fourth Round

Sam Ponder: Replaced Chris Berman as host of Sunday NFL Countdown.

Greg McElroy

Gary Danielson

Brett McMurphy: Laid off from ESPN.

Molly McGrath

Joel Klatt


Fifth Round

Dan Wetzel

Adnan Virk

Andy Staples

Pat Forde

Pete Thamel: No longer with Sports Illustrated. Now with Yahoo.

Tim Brando

Sixth Round

Matt Leinart

Taylor Rooks: Left Big Ten Network for SportsNet New York.

Kaylee Hartung: Left ESPN for CNN.

Allie LaForce

Steve Levy

Rick Neuheisel


Seventh Round

Brad Nessler: Left ESPN after 24 years and spent much of 2016 watching games from home. He’ll replace Verne Lundquist in CBS’ top booth.

Travis Haney: Contract was not renewed by ESPN.

Robert Smith

Tom Rinaldi

Rob Stone

Todd McShay


Eighth Round

David Pollack

Doug Flutie

Desmond Howard

Ed Cunningham

Jordan Rodgers

Holly Rowe


Ninth Round

Marcus Spears

Ty Duffy: No longer with The Big Lead.

Brock Huard

Thayer Evans

Steve Sarkisian: Left Fox for Alabama, then left Alabama for the Atlanta Falcons

Ted Miller

By comparison, the NFL draft saw less turnover as just 14 of 84 picks qualify, although, it should be noted that huge names like Chris Berman and Tom Jackson are included.


Round 1

Matthew Berry

Adam Schefter

Cris Collinsworth

Al Michaels

Dan Patrick

Mel Kiper Jr.


Round 2

Jim Nantz

Jay Glazer

Peter King

Mike Florio

Rich Eisen

Louis Riddick


Round 3

Troy Aikman

Charles Woodson

James Brown

John Clayton: Laid off at ESPN. Continued his radio show. 

Joe Buck

Chris Mortensen


Round 4

Todd McShay

Howie Long

Randy Moss

Mike Mayock

Chris Spielman

Tom Jackson: Retired from ESPN.


Round 5

Cousin Sal

Mike Tirico: Was given the green light to call Thursday Night Football games after a few false starts.

Rachel Nichols

Trey Wingo

Bill Simmons: No longer with HBO on any given Wednesday.

Chris Berman: Only doing select assignments


Round 6

Bill Cowher

Steve Mariucci

Erin Andrews

Bill Barnwell

Joel Klatt

Albert Breer


Round 7

Matt Hasselbeck

Tracy Wolfson

Kevin Harlan

Jimmy Johnson

Michael Silver

Tony Gonzalez: Left The NFL Today, is now with Fox.


Round 8

Bart Scott: Also out at The NFL Today.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – FEBRUARY 01: CBS NFL gmae analyst Phil Simms speaks during a press conference for the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year in the Super Bowl XLVI Media Center at the J.W. Marriott Indianapolis on February 1, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Phil Simms: Lost his spot next to Jim Nantz in CBS’ top booth to unproven Tony Romo. 

Scott Hanson

Trent Dilfer: Laid off from ESPN.

Jon Gruden

Sean McDonough


Round 9

Britt McHenry: Laid off from ESPN.

Herm Edwards

Michelle Tafoya

Ron Jaworski: Seems to not know if he has a job at ESPN, which should be interesting.

Field Yates

Dan Fouts


Round 10

Pam Oliver

Michael Strahan

Doug Farrar

Marshall Faulk

Cynthia Frelund

Charissa Thompson


Round 11

Adam Caplan: Laid off from ESPN.

Katie Nolan: Where art thou, Katie Nolan?

Key & Peele

Jason Lisk: Still kickin’.

Solomon Wilcots: No longer working the sidelines at CBS.

Frank Caliendo


Round 12

Mike Clay

Pete Prisco

Nick Bakay

Mike Pereira

Peter Schrager

Heather Cox


Round 13

Colin Cowherd

Dan Wetzel

Amy Trask

Ian Rapoport

PFT Commenter

Daniel Jeremiah


Round 14

Adam Schein

Michael Schottey — now the executive editor at Travel Pulse.

Tiki Barber

Chase Stuart

Cleatus the Robot

Josh Norman

In total, 29 of 138 picks qualify. Again, this is a conservative estimate–others may be revealed as the season begins–and it still comes to more than 20 percent of what can be considered as the top of the field. Change has been real this past year, meaning coverage will look — and sound — much different this coming season.

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