Marcus Hayes: Why Jason Kelce will be the best NFL analyst since John Madden (and better than Tom Brady and Tony Romo)

Marcus Hayes, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

PHILADELPHIA — I can’t wait for Jason Kelce to start demolishing the NFL.

Passionate? He’s going to make John Madden sound uninterested. Clairvoyant? He’s going to make Romo-stradomus seem a step slow. Authentic? He’s going to make Tom Brady look like a poser.

Low bar, but still.

I’ve been covering the league for 34 years, and I know what I’m seeing. I usually watch games with the sound down; Tony Romo’s histrionics never impressed me. I never watch pregame or postgame shows; bland predictions and toothless reactions are a waste of time. CBS’s Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms have always been a little too antiseptic for my taste; thanks for the unmemorable memories, guys. I love Matt Ryan, but Matty Ice ain’t the answer, either.

If he’s true to his word and true to himself, Kelce will be different. As in, better. It’s just who he is. It’s why he isn’t exactly universally beloved by his former teammates; Kelce hurt some feelings over the years.

“I’ve been doing that my whole career,” he said. “If you’re doing your job as a player, you’re being critical of what you’re doing, what’s happening with the group, what’s happening from the coaches. Especially the older you get, people throughout the building lean on you to be that. They want to know what your actual point of view is.”


Kelce spoke to NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark this week on the Takeoff with John Clark podcast. Clark pressed Kelce about perhaps being uncomfortable when called on to criticize the Eagles. It appears to be no problem for Kelce, who was pretty candid with the press for much of his career. The message: You ain’t seen nothing yet.

“Maybe [speaking with] the media, you’re kind of saying that through a little bit of rose-colored glasses,” he said. “Certainly, in the building, you get used to the criticalness of it. If you’re not critical of yourself, of your teammates, of your coaches, in an honest way, you’re really doing yourself a disservice. So, I don’t think it will be that much different than what I’ve been doing. Now, I’m just going to be spouting it off to millions of people on television.”

Big, if true.

This season Kelce will serve as a pregame and halftime analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, replacing Robert Griffin III (yawn). Don’t expect him to be limited to Scott Van Pelt’s apron strings for long. He belongs in the booth, making bank. The industry needs him.


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