NFL

Boomer and Simms were fun and predictable on CBS’ stage, but weren’t renewed

Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms not Renewed at CBS

Under the auspices of David Berson, President and CEO, of CBS Sports announced shocking changes. The network is not renewing Boomer Esiason or Phil Simms.

The network shared this, “CBS Sports’ NFL Today will have a new look this fall as Matt Ryan, the 2016 NFL Most Valuable Player and a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, moves to the studio and joins James Brown, Nate Burleson, Bill Cowher and JJ Watt.”

Simms is 68 and Esiason is 63. Both contributed to the periphery of NFL programming for a lengthy number of years, Simms 26 seasons, Esiason 22.

Berson added, “(Ryan) had an outstanding first year at CBS Sports, excelling as both a studio and game analyst,” said Berson. “He is the consummate team player and a Hall of Fame person. We love the chemistry he has with the studio crew and we’re excited to see him entertain NFL fans and share his passion, insight and perspective alongside JB, Nate, Coach and JJ.”

It appears too as though, the new management headed up by CBS’ Berson was prepared for major changes on NFL programming had this was all calculated late last year.

The consistency of talent has brought CBS many unmatched NFL Voices. Berson learned and observed, watching from the knee. Sean McManus was a son of Jim McKay, a true gentleman who worked on-air at CBS and ABC. He’ll be best remembered for his unending coverage of the Olympics in 1972. Eleven11 Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.

Everything is relative. The action by the terrorists caught the nation and the world. Roone Arledge ran ABC Sports. He worked with the NFL and struck gold. ABC got Monday Night Football. It was huge. For one, this was essentially before cable and perfect for in-house talent.

The first season of ABC’s football, 1970, had Howard Cosell in-house who was always unpredictable. Cosell also had a tight relationship with Muhammad Ali. Roone appointed Keith Jackson for play-by-play and he did well. The brilliant producer Arledge then thought about Don Meredith, the ex-Cowboys quarterback. Don checked the box of entertainment. It produced an attraction for women to partake in the NFL, watching Monday Night Football.

The first 25 years of Monday Night Football – 1970 through 1994

Year                                       Commentators

1970                                       Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith

1971                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith

1972                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith

1973                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith

1974                                       F. Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, Fred Williamson

1975                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Alex Karras

1976                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Alex Karras

1977                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith

1978                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith

1979                                       F. Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, Fran Tarkenton

1980                                       F. Gifford, H. Cosell, Don Meredith, Fran Tarkenton

1981                                       F. Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, Fran Tarkenton

1982                                       F. Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, Fran Tarkenton

1983                                       Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, Don Meredith, O.J. Simpson

1984                                       Frank Gifford, Don Meredith, O.J. Simpson

1985                                       Frank Gifford, O.J. Simpson, Joe Namath

1986                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford

1987                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1988                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1989                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1990                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1991                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1992                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1993                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1994                                       Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Lynn Swann

Many may not know that Frank Gifford did the play-by-play of the 1972 Olympics. Bill Russell did color. The matchup was between the Soviets and the U.S. team. The mood in Munich was not good, given the fact that 11 were killed by heartless Palestinians.

ABC faced an exigency in 1972. The network felt obligated to chase the very basics of the killings. Who are the murderers and where are they. That’s a massive challenge. By 1974, ABC Sports learned to modernize its efficiencies and deliver video reports back nimbly. Jim Lampley was the first sideline reporter.

We heard about two local NHL voices retiring. Jeff Rimer spent some short time in Washington in 1990. In 1993 he went to Florida and was on for a dozen years with the Panthers last 20 in Columbus.  

Former ESPNer Jack Edwards of the Boston Bruins is hanging up his cleats too.

The Arizona NHL team, the Coyotes, are moving to Salt Lake City if all is executed as written up. Hot Rod Hundley was the Voice of the Jazz in New Orleans where he was a partier and loved by the city. From Wikipedia: “The Jazz relocated from New Orleans to Salt Lake City on June 8, 1979. The Jazz were one of the least successful teams in the league in their early years. Although 10 seasons elapsed before the Jazz qualified for their first playoff appearance in 1984, they did not miss the playoffs again until 2004.”

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David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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Michael Green
19 days ago

I always got a kick out of the fact that Hot Rod was so beloved in Utah.