Former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez spent 17 seasons in the NFL. But the soon-to-be Hall of Famer is leaving his role as a studio analyst on The NFL Today at CBS after just three seasons.
“I have had an incredible and rewarding three years at CBS and wish it could be more, but traveling to New York each week during the season is not what is best for my family at this time,” Gonzalez said in a statement. Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch was first to report the news.
CBS isn't the only network that is messing with the lineup on its Sunday NFL pre-game show. Over at ESPN, Sam Ponder is replacing Chris Berman as the host of Sunday NFL Countdown, where she'll be joined by former New York Jets and Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan.
As far as a replacement goes, CBS hasn’t made any announcements, though one name that seems to be getting a fair amount of attention is former Oakland Raiders CEO Amy Trask, who was a regular on That Other Pregame Show, which aired on Sundays on the CBS Sports Network.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that CBS is actually trying to entice the 36-year-old quarterback to its booth with a big-time job opportunity — replacing former Giants quarterback Phil Simms as its top anchor for the network’s NFL game coverage.
One thing is for certain: Simms is a weekly target of critics and is often mocked by fans on social media during games. The @philsimmsquotes Twitter account has amassed nearly 41,000 followers by pointing out his flubs and mistakes in realtime during games.
CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus has long defended Simms, and thinks he remains one of the best on-air talents in broadcasting.
"I think Phil is vastly under-appreciated and part of that is the overreaction to social media," McManus said going into last season. "I would just suggest that if people listen to Jim and Phil with an open mind, I think they would recognize what a good job they are doing.”
According to an ESPN report, FOX would like Romo to replace John Lynch as an on-air NFL analyst. Lynch, a former safety who played in the league for 15 seasons, left the booth last month to become general manager of the San Francisco 49ers.
If Romo were interested in the job, he could be in competition with former Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who reportedly interviewed with FOX last month for the network's open analyst position.
“The NFL TV producers I've spoken with really love Romo's potential,” Deitsch said on Twitter earlier this month, adding they say, “he's smart, open, prepared, [and] helpful in TV production meetings.”