It seems like every retired NFL player with any small modicum of celebrity over the last decade has found his way onto television, either on the NFL Network or ESPN. The amount of money that is spent on salaries for largely repetitive, and oftentimes useless, opinions has got to be equal parts mind-boggling and depressing.
Much like coaching or general managing, just because a guy was a superstar player doesn't mean he will be a strong analyst. Or in many cases, even a mediocre analyst.
Case in point using good analysts: my two favorite analysts -- Trent Dilfer and Heath Evans -- were a journeyman quarterback and a decent fullback.
Case in point using bad analysts: Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.
Rice appears regularly on ESPN providing some of the most sleep-inducing, milquetoast analysis on the network. For a guy who was one of the most scintillating players in the history of team sports, he's a boring analyst.
Earlier this week, Rice and former defensive lineman Marcellus Wiley were appearing with Wendi Nix on one of ESPN's thousand or so NFL programs. Nix had just finished laying out details of a story about the Green Bay Packers selling shares of stock in the franchise. From there, they got very "ESPN-y" and decided to do a smooth segue from the Packers story into a piece where Nix asked Wiley and Rice, "Which team would you buy stock in?"
It was one of those bits where they're trying to find a creative way to ask, "Which team do you think has both the ample room and corresponding potential to become a pretty good team in the near future?"
Here is the video, with a chronological breakdown of the film:
0:08 -- The question is posed first to Wiley, who answers "Carolina Panthers," citing the presence of Cam Newton, the fact that they are only 4-8 right now and that we can expect them to become very good in the near future. Basically, Wiley gives a sound answer you would expect from someone with an Ivy League education.
0:28 -- Conversely, Jerry Rice goes with the "old reliable, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots." Why? "Because you're gonna get good returns..." Um, okay Jerry. Rightfully, Nix and Wiley jumped Rice's shit trying to explain to him that the idea when buying stock is not to find the most expensive, overpriced one and wait to "get good returns." As I watched, I was pretty sure Rice wasn't grasping their explanation to him. My conjecture was soon validated....
0:53 -- The next question: "Which player would you buy stock in?"
0:54 -- Wiley answered with "Tim Tebow," which while not the safest actual investment advice is at least an interesting debatable answer. (Truth be told, Tebow is the one player you could argue is both incredibly undervalued because of the "haters" -- the Wiley argument -- or that he is at the peak of his value with a 6-1 record as a starter. In short, there is no debate as to whose stock value is the most volatile. It's Tebow.)
0:57 -- ...cringing waiting to see what Rice's answer will be....
0:58 -- "Aaron Rodgers."
(By the way, the funniest part about Rice's answer wasn't its stupidity, but the way he points at Wiley and Nix as he says "Aaron Rodgers," like he's been crunching numbers in some sort of complex formula in his head, and this is what his brain arrived at.)
1:02 -- His partners on the set are justifiably incredulous at Rice's stupidity. Wendi Nix literally yells at him like he just did a vulgar toast in the middle of her wedding reception.
1:05 -- The producers quickly roll credits before Jerry Rice can tell us we all should buy Google.
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