“Chicago Bears, Cradle of Analysts?”
You could say that.
This week is scheduled to be the ESPN debut of former Bears coach John Fox, with his first on-camera spot expected to be on the 8 a.m. “SportsCenter” on Tuesday.
“I’m not sure what my fall schedule will be, but it’ll be more intense,” Fox told MMQB’s Jonathan Jones last week. “I’m just going to kind of get my feet wet. I’m going to be in studio—not doing games. And what that entails yet, I don’t know.”
Fox holds the distinction of being one of only six men in NFL history to coach two different teams (Carolina, Denver) to Super Bowls, in the select company of Mike Holmgren (Green Bay, Seattle), Bill Parcells (New England, NY Giants), Dan Reeves (Denver, Atlanta), Don Shula (Miami, Baltimore Colts), and Dick Vermeil (Philadelphia, St. Louis Rams).
NFL and football commentary in general stand to take on a distinctly Bears flavor this coming season. Among the Bears presences in booths and studios:
Besides Tom Thayer, WBBM’s color commentator for Bears broadcasts, and Tom Waddle, whose daily work at WMVP ESPN-1000 radio locally has been augmented by duties with FOX and NFL Network, Jay Cutler may resurface with FOX as a game commentator unless someone again wants him as an emergency quarterback.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall was let go by the New York Giants, leaving him more time to devote to his “Inside the NFL” gig with Showtime, although his standing wasn’t enhanced by a January rant that the NFL should be “ashamed” for letting the New England Patriots dynasty endure.
Safety Shaun Gayle works as an NFL analyst for Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. And wideout Curtis Conway serves as cohost of Total Access for the NFL Network. Quarterback Jim Miller is a host for SiriusXM NFL radio, while defensive tackle Tim Ryan is out in the Bay Area as a radio color analyst for San Francisco 49ers broadcasts.
On the college level, quarterback Brian Griese serves as a color commentator on ESPN College Gameday, and offensive lineman Jay Leeuwenburg contributes as an analyst for The MTN television network for the Mountain West Conference.