This is what happens when I’m out of the office, news breaks and I need someone to point me in the right direction. Coming from the great Richard Deitsch at Sports Illustrated, NFL Network has apparently decided to do away with the Joe Theismann/Matt Millen analyst combo and chucked them in favor of one of the best analysts in football, Mike Mayock. I asked NFL Network’s PR department for confirmation, but was given an “NFL Network declines comment” response.
In the meantime, this would be most excellent news if this is true. Mayock has been with NFL Network from its inception as its Draft guru. He has surpassed Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay as the go-to guy for draft information.
And last year, Mayock received good notice for his work on NBC’s Notre Dame football broadcasts forming a very good team with Tom Hammond. In addition, the two worked one of NBC’s NFL Wild Card playoff games in January and again, Mayock received mostly positive reviews for his work.
If this is true, it would mean the end of a failed experiment in using two analysts on Thursday Night Football, a booth that has been retooled, reshaped and reworked since NFL Network got the package in 2006.
And Richard reports that NFL Network is also considering NFL on CBS voice Gus Johnson to replace Bob Papa. Now there was nothing wrong with Papa’s work on Thursday Night Football. He was always prepared and he meshed well with Cris Collinsworth in his first season on TNF, but then was saddled with Matt Millen in 2009 and then Theismann and Millen in 2010. Papa is a very good play-by-play man and deserves another network shot if indeed, NFL Network goes in another direction. I would have liked to have heard Papa and Mayock work together in 2011, but that appears not to be the case.
We’ll continue to monitor what has become a very interesting story.