About 1.5 years ago, I wrote that TV networks have their eyes on two current NFL players to become future announcers: Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. Brees has already signed a deal to call Notre Dame games for NBC after he retires, whenever that may be, and Rivers has openly talked about this week possibly being his final game in an NFL uniform. It therefore comes as no surprise that Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports is reporting that TV networks are eyeing Rivers as the “next Tony Romo.”
I actually agree with one of the sources in McCarthy’s stories who thinks that Rivers will be a better announcer than Brees. Based on what I’ve seen when they are interviewed, I expect Rivers to have more zest, which carries through the screen and helps make viewers feel like they’re watching a special event.
As far as being the next Romo, I do think that Rivers can match Romo’s energy. However, the thing that really catapulted Romo to cult status was his astounding run of predicting offensive plays before they happened in 2019.
Maybe Rivers can do that, but I’d have to see it happen before I’ll believe it.
As far as where Rivers could land, ESPN could have yet another opening on Monday Night Football, if Louis Riddick leaves for a front office job. This could be awkward with Brian Griese, who’s done a fine job. Putting Rivers in there with him would mean two quarterbacks in the booth.
Monday Night Football is also risky. Jason Witten was catapulted into the standalone primetime slot when he wasn’t ready for it. A gamble worked with CBS and Tony Romo in the late afternoon Sunday window, but we have seen that it isn’t always replicable.
FOX and CBS color commentating spots don’t open often, but Rivers is a big enough name that it could happen for him. Though I don’t believe it’s likely, McCarthy notes that if Amazon or Apple come into the fray with an exclusive package, there could be a spot for Rivers. The only NFL TV partner that doesn’t make any sense is NBC, which already has Cris Collinsworth and Drew Brees in their stable.