In case you were worried ESPN was going to suffer from a shortage of NFL analysts this fall, have no fear! Bristol has added yet another former player to their endless array of NFL analysts. This time, it's former Colts center Jeff Saturday, who I'm guessing will step right into Matt Light's shoes (Light left ESPN quietly in the last year) as Generic Offensive Lineman #2 in Bristol's lineup. According to ESPN you'll see Saturday mainly on NFL Live and SportsCenter...
"Super Bowl champion and six-time Pro Bowl center Jeff Saturday has joined ESPN as an NFL analyst. The 14-year NFL veteran will appear on NFL Live and SportsCenter and contribute to other ESPN platforms. He will make his debut next week with three days of appearances, July 17-19.
Saturday, who visited ESPN as a guest analyst in March, spent 13 years with the Indianapolis Colts (1999-2011) before playing his final season with the Green Bay Packers in 2012. Though he entered the league as an undrafted free agent, Saturday was a fixture on the Colts teams that won Super Bowl XLI and represented the AFC in Super Bowl XLIV. He was named by Sporting News to the NFL All-Decade Team (2000-09) and achieved first-team All-Pro honors twice (2005, 2007).
“Offensive linemen make some of the best analysts because they understand the nuances of the game and they typically have fun personalities — Jeff definitely fits this mold,” said senior coordinating producer Seth Markman, who oversees ESPN’s NFL studio shows. “It’s also no accident he played center for two NFL MVPs in Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.”
Saturday has long been rumored for a media job, even as an olive branch for a network hopeful of one day landing former teammate Peyton Manning and ESPN must have liked what they saw during his tryout in March. He's got an engaging personality and should do better than average on television if he can escape the quagmire that is ESPN's small army of NFL analysts. No joke, ESPN's mediazone website lists 28 NFL analysts at the network. Two eight! And that's not even the entire list because folks like Jerry Rice aren't even named in bio section. The revolving door of ESPN analysts is astounding and you can never quite be sure who's going in and who's going out. I don't watch ESPN 24/7 (much to the surprise of some of you I'm sure) but I can't remember the last time I saw the likes of Antonio Pierce or Darren Woodson or Lomas Brown. And what about Eric Allen? Do these guys just disappear off the face of the earth?
With this kind of competition, one wonders whether or not Saturday will be able to break through or if he'll be just another guy. It also makes you wonder with so many NFL analysts how Herm Edwards appears on SportsCenter every 26 minutes.