There are seasoned veterans and up-and-coming youngsters, who are clearly made to join the NFL’s media when their career on the field ends. This list of men are not wired that way.
They may have the intellect, the talent and the big names. But TV is not for them — and many of them would say as much. Here’s why.
Kaepernick might be good at the job. But it’s the classic question with Kaep: Can he get the job? He is as likely to get a job in NFL and he is to get a job in NFL media.
Kaepernick has not spent much time talking to the media in the last year, as surrogates take up his positions publicly and advocate for him, while he advocates for equality. As he’s avoided cameras and interviews in the last few years, perhaps he wouldn’t even want to work in TV.
If he did, however, the media which covers the league will likely avoid Kaepernick just like the NFL itself. News networks likely wouldn’t want to align themselves with Kaepernick’s politics. Even ESPN, a left-leaning news organization, has tried to distance themselves from the political discussion.
Kaepernick is a smart and talented quarterback. But he’s also a political symbol. And most organizations don’t want to take on the persona he has created, for fear of telegraphing a bias to their viewers.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots linebacker cares more about cartoons than he does about football. He said he doesn’t like watching football when he’s not at his team’s facility. He doesn’t even seem to like talking about football. When he meets with the media, he’s gifted at answering with one word: “Yes,” “No,” “Good,” “Bad.”
He’s a dedicated and talented athlete with a heck of a story (coming into the NFL as an undrafted free agent). But he doesn’t seem to like telling that story. He’s got a great knowledge of the game, but hates sharing about that knowledge. If you put him into a studio, you’d hope he’d be a bull in a china shop. Instead, he’d be tame and disinterested. No china would break. That’s not good TV.
There are so many wonderful moments that prove my point about Tomsula. You’ve probably seen all of them.
First, his introductory press conference from his brief stint as the San Francisco 49ers coach:
Second, the most awkward interview in recent memory
Putting this guy on TV wouldn’t be bad for ratings. But he belongs on Comedy Central’s “Nathan For You” sooner than ESPN’s “NFL Countdown.”
The Green Bay Packers coach is monotone. He’s a bore. He rarely smiles. He generally doesn’t seem like he’s having a good time. Meeting with the media is a chore for McCarthy. He gets grumpy at times, especially because his job security has been questioned. He’s like Bill Belichick without the incredible football intelligence, expansive NFL intelligence and, of course, the championships. Becoming a media member would be McCarthy’s undoing.
Tomsula’s press conferences were interesting in that they were so disjointed, confusing and at times comically awful. Mariota brings next to nothing to his press conferences, and has delivered one snoozer after the next.
Mariota doesn’t want the spotlight. For example, he skipped the draft. He seems like a stellar person and a positive presence in the locker room. He just wants to play and win football games.
But in front of the camera, he’s white noise.