With a new NFL season just around the corner, Barrett Sports Media decided to take on a big project. We reached out to hosts, PDs, and reporters in every NFL city in the country. The question we wanted answered was simple: Who on your team’s roster has the brightest future in the sports media?
We spent the better part of a month sending emails and texts asking folks to participate. Some gave us an answer right away. Some required a little poking and prodding. Some didn’t respond at all. What are you going to do, right? It’s a busy time of year for all of us in sports radio.
Here is Part 3.
Carl Dukes – 92.9 the Game
The Atlanta Falcons selected tight end Austin Hooper in the third round (81st overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Stanford. Hoop as he is known by his teammates, is well spoken and a student of the game. He loves football. Hooper this off season spent well over 500 hours of practice time with Quarterback Matt Ryan to improve his connection with the quarterback with hopes of improving his overall numbers this up coming season.
While at Stanford Hooper studied Psychology, but I don’t think he will every use his psychology background outside of messing with people on the field. I think he has the brightest future in sports media for the Falcons. He has the looks to be a TV studio analysts and the skills and knowledge of the game to be in the booth to be a color analyst. I think Hooper who is very engaging and well-spoken could pick his job after his football days are over.
He has such a cool demeanor about him that one of his nicknames on the team is “California Cool”. But don’t mistake this “Dude” for a laid back surfer guy. Austin Hooper comes from a sports family. His father played football at San Diego State his Uncle Greg, played fullback at Stanford (1979-82) his Uncle Chip, played professional tennis his younger brother, Justin plays baseball at UCLA
Austin Hooper has the brightest future as a media star after his playing career is done whether it’s Radio or Television.
Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander is the obvious choice for the Buffalo Bill with the brightest future in sports media. Alexander is a go to guy for members of the media who regularly cover the team, because doesn’t just spit out sports cliches. He actually puts thought into the question and gives an honest answer. When we’ve had Lorenzo on WGR in his time as a Bill we usually get tweets from listeners telling us how much they enjoyed the interview.
His knowledge of the game, the ability to think on his feet and the energy in his interviews are just some of the reasons why Alexander would be a natural when it comes to broadcasting.
Nate Kreckman – Altitude 950
Chris Harris, Jr is my guy here in Denver. He has a great football story, he’s honest, and most importantly, he’s really smart. Harris was undrafted out of Kansas, and made the Broncos roster in training camp in 2011. All he’s done since those humble NFL beginnings is win a Super Bowl as a part of one of the great NFL secondaries ever, earn three Pro Bowl nods, and make himself north of $38 million in his career.
So how does an undrafted guy do that? Chris Harris, Jr is definitely not the most athletic player on the field, but he’s often the smartest player out there. His dedication to film study is well known in Denver, and his football IQ is off the charts. He fervently studies opposing quarterbacks and receivers, and has extensive knowledge of offensive tendencies. There’s a reason Harris and Aqib Talib were so great together, and it’s that they were two of the smartest football players to whom I’ve ever spoken.
Of course, none of that is of any value in a broadcasting role unless the player knows how to convey that expertise in a concise and thoughtful way. Harris has gotten better in that capacity in his entire career. He’s now an elder stateman, a leader, and a go-to for the local media on team issues big and small. He’s never afraid to be honest on his opinions of teammates, coaches, front office personnel, and opponents. In 2016, Harris told the media Trevor Siemian was the best QB in camp, despite the organization doing everything to push Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch. Siemian won the job. Last season, he was not shy about calling out younger teammates that were not properly respecting the veterans and the game. His postgame analysis of both his own team’s performance as well as that of the opponents makes him a must-have quote for writers and broadcast media alike.
Joe Cowart – 1010XL
The Jacksonville Jaguars are chock full of superstars on the defensive side of the ball and it’s not easy to nail down who would be the best fit behind a mic or in front of a camera after the gridiron. You can start with the undeniable bravado of Jalen Ramsey. Outspoken, controversial, memorable – he checks all the boxes. Malik Jackson might be another Jaguar the spotlight post career with a quick tongue and plenty of palpable material. But the mantle of future media master has to belong to Calais Campbell.
One of the most engaging and charming personalities ever to fit inside a defensive end who makes a living planting quarterbacks but when Campbell is off the field his affable approach to life rings true. He could name the style of media too, from an analyst chair to a Barstool Sports setup, Calais fits right in with a baritone quality and gregarious personality.
When it ends on the field after more than a decade of defensive mastery, Campbell is a perfect fit for the athlete that can command the room and kill with intel about what it was like to play the game.
Andrew Filliponi – 93.7 the Fan
So, with the Steelers this question is really hard. I think if he wanted to do it, Ben Roethlisberger could be a network analyst on games. I say that because I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ben on his show. For my money, he does the best player radio show in America. He doesn’t give cliche answers. He’s honest. He tries. So if he took that to the broadcast booth, he’d be awesome.
Ramon Foster, a Steelers starting guard, will absolutely do media. He’s got a great sense of humor, very natural on the air. He was voted the Steelers best player interview from the media in 2017.
Ulitmately, Joe Haden might be the right answer. He’s been a guest analyst on NFL Network. He’s enthusiastic on air, you can tell he likes it. Given his track record and name power, I see him working for a network someday.