Jay Cutler is the latest NFL quarterback to transition from the gridiron to the press box after lacking any real suitors that were interested in having the former Chicago Bear join their team. Cutler inked a deal to become a color analyst for Fox Sports yesterday, but instead of booting Troy Aikman and joining Joe Buck like Tony Romo did with replacing Phil Simms, Cutler will start out with the “second team” of broadcasters. It’s a situation that will benefit both Fox Sports and Cutler, and unlike Romo’s situation with CBS, it makes sense.
Cutler will start off his venture at Fox doing broadcasts with play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Charles Davis, similar to what Troy Aikman did when he first joined the Fox team. Instead of throwing him into the top spot like CBS did with Romo, Fox is doing the smart thing by putting Cutler in a less pressure-packed situation so that he can develop into a quality broadcaster. He obviously has the football acumen to provide good insight as a color commentator, but his delivery will likely need work.
That’s where this situation is perfect for Cutler; he’ll be with two veteran broadcasters who can help him learn the ropes and who have the experience to keep the broadcast flowing if Cutler struggles. This new gig will also give Cutler plenty of reps to improve in general, and the one thing most sports broadcasters will tell you is that the only way to improve is to get plenty of reps and call plenty of games so that even the most inexperienced guys begin to feel more comfortable as time goes on.
Overall, this move makes more sense than CBS giving Romo the top spot because both will be projects, but Cutler won’t be by the time he reaches the top spot at Fox and Romo will have to go through his growing pains in front of a huge national audience. Both will end up being quality broadcasters, but Fox Sports has set up Cutler for success while CBS has thrown an inexperienced and frankly unprepared Tony Romo into the spotlight to potentially crash and burn.