When you’re starting a 24-hour sports network from scratch like Fox Sports 1, it’s important to have plenty of programming on hand and no sport draws more eyes than football. That’s why it seemed smart for FS1 to throw a ton of resources into their daily football studio show, Fox Football Daily.
They brought over Curt Menefee to host the show, who has proven himself a capable studio host with his work on Fox’s Pregame Show on Sundays. Then they added a popular NFL insider in Jay Glazer and three likely Hall of Famers in Brian Urlacher, Randy Moss and Ronde Barber.
With that kind of firepower (20 combined Pro Bowls, a likable host and a plugged-in reporter ), you’d expect Fox Football Daily to carve out a significant niche in the never-ending quest for football knowledge. However, it just hasn’t worked out that way.
With three rookie analysts still feeling their way out and Glazer’s overall volume and ‘jockularity’, the program can seem incredibly choppy, despite the best efforts of Menefee to reign it in. Part of the problem stems from having three players turned analysts who are all very recently removed from being a part of the fraternal NFL lifestyle.
Urlacher, specifically, looks tense on camera and speaks rather timidly (which having covered the Bears for the past couple years isn’t his general personality). Barber is gregarious and generally enjoyable, but he still needs polish.
Meanwhile, Moss has downright dismissed the notion of being a member of the media. That kind of sentiment–which seems shared by the entire trio–leads to a lot of cliched speak of life in the NFL, and no genuine insight.
Hopefully, over time, these three will grow into roles where their expertise allows the viewer to feel as if they have a better understanding of the game, but they’ll all need to understand that their job as analysts will occasionally require them to be critical. As they learn how to toe that line more effectively, Fox Football Daily has the potential to turn into a trusted source for NFL (and some college) news and analysis.
Unfortunately, as it currently stands, it’s just not there yet and it could leach viewers without the addition of a dynamic, established personality. In other words, what they need is football’s version of a Charles Barkley.
Honestly, my favorite analyst that Fox has cycled through on Fox Football Daily, thus far, has been former NFL official Mike Pereira. The man is insightful and his knowledge of the rulebook actually lends something to the broadcast, which can’t always be said of Urlacher, who I expected to be a much stronger personality.
However, I don’t think that Pereira necessarily has the clout to be the “Charles Barkley” type for Fox Football Daily. Granted, every sports studio show on planet earth besides the NBA on TNT is looking for a Barkley-like personality. Thus far, we haven’t found one in football.
That being said, former Pro Bowl special teamer and outspoken activist Brendon Ayanbadejo has been making the rounds for Fox lately, and I think there could be potential. Ayanbadejo has been on several Fox Sports 1 programs and has even written an op-ed for FoxSports.com recently.
Brendon Ayanbadejo has definitely never been afraid to speak his mind, and he’s a well-spoken and insightful individual who seems perfect for a studio analyst’s role. Yet, the worry is that Ayanbadejo could be too politically charged for a sports show.
Regardless, Fox Football Daily has to do something differently. A truly great football studio show has the potential to draw in a LOT of regular viewers, and when you’re launching a new sports network, developing a quality program that attracts eyeballs is absolutely everything.
Fox Sports 1 genuinely needs Fox Football Daily to be a flagship program (especially in the wake of Fox Sports Live’s terrible ratings), and I think it has that potential. But they’re not even close to reaching it right now.