(Michael Becker for FOX Sports 1)
(Michael Becker for FOX Sports 1)

‘I Am Not Part of the Media’

So says Randy Moss. But the former receiving great will be a regular on FOX’s football shows this season. Will he be as brilliant—and polarizing—on the air as he was on the field?

By
Richard Deitsch
· More from Richard·

Your eyes do not deceive you. That is indeed Randy Moss on your television screen working as a broadcaster for FOX Sports 1. Just don’t call him an NFL analyst.

“I don’t like that term,” Moss says, on the phone from FOX’s studios in Los Angeles. “I just like being called part of FOX Football Daily and our Sunday show. I am not part of the media. That’s not my label, and I don’t want it to start now. I love the game of football, and this is just a new way for me to be part of the game. Everything from the makeup to the studio to the lights, camera, action, I am enjoying everything. I like to adventure out and learn new things, and this gives me the opportunity to keep learning.”

Sorry, Randy, you are part of the media when you accept a check from Rupert Murdoch. And given the perception that he wanted little part of the media during his career, the likely Hall of Fame wide receiver is the most intriguing NFL broadcasting hire of the offseason. For years, FOX Sports has envied ESPN’s ability to dominate NFL conversation from Monday morning through Sunday night, and now with the launch of FOX Sports 1, the company has a daily television platform for new talent such as Moss as well as its current stable of NFL studio talent and game analysts.

I love football, and this is just a new way for me to be part of the game. This gives me the opportunity to keep learning.

The signature NFL show on FOX Sports 1—FOX Football Daily—will air year-round from 6-7 p.m. ET. The on-air talent features names familiar to NFL viewers, including host Curt Menefee, insider Jay Glazer and former NFL chief of officiating Mike Pereira. The newcomers are Moss, five-time Pro Bowl defensive back Ronde Barber, former New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Fujita and eight-time Pro Bowler Brian Urlacher. There will also be appearances (mostly on Friday and Monday) from longtime FOX NFL Sunday staffers Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Michael Strahan, as well as FOX NFL analysts such as Troy Aikman, John Lynch and Tim Ryan. Joel Klatt will host the show once a week for Menefee and also serve as the show’s lead college football analyst.

“The easiest way to convey what we want to do is to take the tone and the depth of our Sunday pregame show and run it across the week,” says FOX Sports executive producer John Entz.

How did Moss end up at Homer Simpson’s network? FOX Sports vice president of production Jacob Ullman reached out to Joel Segal, Moss’ agent, upon hearing that the wide receiver might be interested in television work after a limited role with the 49ers last season in which Moss caught 28 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns. That conversation led to a conference call with Moss and FOX Sports executives, who were impressed by the receiver’s knowledge and enthusiasm. Next came a dinner in Los Angeles with Moss, followed by a one-day audition on August 1 at FOX’s L.A. studios. During the audition Moss was asked to give his opinion on a series of NFL topics, and FOX Sports executives came away impressed. “We had always heard from his coaches that he was a brilliant football mind, and that didn’t always fit with the media’s portrayal of him,” says Entz. “The things we are always looking for are likeability and credibility. He has the credibility based on how successful he was at playing. The other part is harder to tell, and we found him to be likeable.”

We had heard from his coaches that he was a brilliant football mind. That didn’t always fit the media’s portrayal of him. —FOX Sports exec John Entz.

Moss said broadcasting never crossed his mind when he was a player, and he had no idea if other networks were interested. “All I know is my agent brought FOX to the table and said they were looking to bring some guys on a new show,” Moss said. “I told him to get more information on it, and here we are today.”

It’s a limited sample size, but Moss has been interesting television so far. He’s bright, with an engaging manner of speech. Moss will be a regular on FOX NFL Kickoff, a one-hour Sunday morning pregame show that debuts Sept. 8 on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 a.m. ET (the show will air in its regular time slot of 11:00 a.m.-noon ET starting the following Sunday), and he’ll also make occasional appearances on FOX Football Daily. The network already thinks enough of him that a FOX Sports spokesman told The MMQB on Wednesday that Moss will make regular appearances on Fox NFL Sunday, the network’s long-running pregame show, throughout the season.

“He and I share a dressing room at the FOX studios, and he constantly talks with me about getting better,” says Menefee. “I tell him to just be himself and, just as when he was a player, he will improve with more reps. I genuinely think he has the long-term potential to be the Terry Bradshaw or Charles Barkley of his show. You don’t want to tinker with that by trying to get rid of his West Virginia accent or having him speak from prepared notes. I believe with his desire to be good, if we just let Randy be Randy, he has the potential to be something special. He truly wants to be good at this.”

One obvious question for viewers is how FOX Sports 1’s NFL programming will differ from the thousands of hours of NFL content on television. Like the Kardashian clan, pro football studio shows continue to proliferate. (For instance, CBS Sports announced this week that it would air That Other Pregame Show, a four-hour Sunday NFL show on CBS Sports Television.) Menefee said FOX Football Daily will take a more casual approach to the league than FOX NFL Sunday, which isn’t exactly the PBS News Hour to begin with. “Expect a lot more storytelling about what’s going on behind the scenes,” Menefee says. “It will be about guys having conversations instead of making pronounced statements. We will talk strategy, game planning, but don’t look for a lot of X’s and O’s being broken down via telestrators.”

Moss echoed that when asked how comfortable he would be criticizing players or coaches. “That’s one thing I am not going to try to stir up, a lot of criticism,” Moss says. “The reason why is I tried to stay away from it during my career. I love the NFL and everything they provided for me and my family. For me to get on this TV and start critiquing and talking negative about players and coaches, that’s not my thing.”

He has the long-term potential to be the Terry Bradshaw or Charles Barkley of his show. Just let Randy be Randy. —Curt Menefee

As for competing head to head with ESPN, FOX Sports 1 executives are realists. Consider: The 6:00 p.m. ET airing of SportsCenter Monday drew 613,308 viewers, while FOX Football Daily had 127,613 viewers in the same time slot. “I don’t think anytime in the near future we will be worried about the FOX Football Daily ratings,” says Entz. “We will obviously look at them, but we are judging this show and this network by how it looks, how it feels and the quality of the programming. The best way to me to determine success is to feel like FOX Football Daily is a unique show and fulfilling our expectations. It’s obviously very early, but we think it has a high ceiling. It is not a case where the jury is out. We are already are high on the show.”

FOX is putting a heavy load on analysts (Barber, Fujita, Moss, Urlacher) with zero television experience, but Entz believes they have surrounded the group with enough TV veterans in front of and behind the cameras. Ask Moss how good he can be at broadcasting, and he laughs and says, “Man, the sky is limit. But it’s not based on me. It’s based on what the people behind the closed doors think. If they [his FOX colleagues] were rookies and the head coach or owner asked me to show them the skills of how to be a wide receiver because we need them on Sunday, that is something I would do. Now I’m in their business, and I need for them to take me by the hand and show me the way.”

36 comments
bitch
bitch

Good for him!!! I am so Happy for him. I Never really liked Randy, until he was a Patriot. I hope he would stay here, But.......Sometimes he opens his mouth too much. Love You Randy.

cd1515
cd1515

wow, so everyone interviewed is a Fox employee, and they all think Moss will be good and the Fox show will be good.

this "article" is one small step above a Fox press release.

tehimself
tehimself

Nooooooooooo! :O Randy, we still need you on the field!!! You're not done!

Laura3
Laura3

How about if I call you "jerk" instead?

qwartherhorse55
qwartherhorse55

I plan to give this show an honest viewing once and a while. I'm more interested in the news around the world, than sports 24/7. But i will sample it from time to time. But I will not give up my news to educated myself on whats going on in the world. When I first saw Moss on the television, I had to take a second look and listen to what he had to say. I thought he spoke well, he seemed to be personable and ready to work. I thought he was not fully comfortable yet, but that will come. He's young and rusty for now, but I think he'll turn into one of the really good ones. Good Luck Mr. Moss.......

Wiggins

skolsquad
skolsquad

My favorite player of all-time, hands-down.

teeg
teeg

For me, if I were going to consider him as part of the media, it would be a step up.  I don't.

MarcCutright
MarcCutright

A bit off topic, but if he'd had been hit in the end zone in the last Super Bowl, SF would be the reigning champs.

Charlie P
Charlie P

Fox is rounding out a pretty interesting rosters of analysts (sorry Randy, you are an analyst in this capacity).  It may be worth watching.  Heck, anything without Chris Berman's schtick will be worth watching.

Fifilo
Fifilo

Wow... another Terry Bradshaw... why bother?

LeilaniHernandez
LeilaniHernandez

randy should have said "straight cash, homie" and ended the discussion there.

mrfrogburger
mrfrogburger like.author.displayName 1 Like

Fox Sports 1 is already a lot more fun than the corporate ESPN trolls.

WilliamJones
WilliamJones like.author.displayName 1 Like

Expect alot of critcizing and should have done this or that. He better not ever say the player didn't give 100%. That would be the pot calling the kettle black.


bobruppert62
bobruppert62

don't like the guy but he should be entertaining, even if it is in a train wreck kinda way.

MrBrainwash
MrBrainwash

Moss says "like I said" over and over again when he talks.  Just thought I'd point that out.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

If you get a cut, Randy, you're part of the media.

As long as he doesn't leave the set early when it gets boring (understandable) or come down too hard on the catering folk, Moss will be okay.

ianlinross
ianlinross like.author.displayName 1 Like

"I'll conduct my own interview. I'll ask the questions and I'll give the answers."

ianlinross
ianlinross

I'm waiting for Year Three when Moss starts slagging Fox for a new contract.


tundey
tundey like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

So now Ronde Barber is on TV and Tiki is still doing what? That just shows that people in TV, Sports will forgive anything but having an affair while your wife is pregnant and being an all around jerk. 

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

I'm intrigued to hear what one of the most intelligent football players will have to say on Sundays

Saqalicious
Saqalicious

Too bad NFL Network didn't hire him. Then he could do a show with the other Randy Moss and call it "Randy Moss and Randy Moss", one-upping Mike and Mike.

pamperofirpo
pamperofirpo

Terry Bradshaw was an excellent player, but is just brutal as an on-air analyst. I turn the channel or turn the sound off whenever Bradshaw appears. And, they want Randy Moss to aspire to be like Bradshaw? Perhaps FOX should suggest a better role model.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff like.author.displayName 1 Like

@pamperofirpo Bradshaw is absolutely horrible, not sure how he has a job on television other than buffoons drive ratings.  He is awful, cannot stand to watch him

tundey
tundey

@ProfessorGriff @pamperofirpo Even you admit that he drives ratings. In today's America, that's the only thing that matters. From selling your own sex tape to Today Show self-admittedly "speculating" about the medical procedure of Joe Biden's son, it's all about moving the needle. 

jhoush9087
jhoush9087 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@pamperofirpo - I disagree about Bradshaw, though he isn't as good as he used to be.  He just has a lot of personality, and that draws in viewers.

donniejohnson4
donniejohnson4

He can't be Bradshaw or Barkley because those guys are brutally honest.  It doesn't sound like Moss is prepared to do that.  Ronde Barber, on the other hand, offered an honest critique of Josh Freeman and didn't pull any punches.  Guys like Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin love the Cowboys, but that doesn't stop them from delivering an honest opinion.  I just don't see what good it will do to have Moss on the show if he's just gonna kiss everybody's butt.  They might as well hire Paula Abdul.

skolsquad
skolsquad

@donniejohnson4 Randy Moss is as brutally honest as they come.  Following him the past 15 years, he is never one to beat around the bush.

BillieBob
BillieBob

I liked him as a player, but he looked like a deer in the headlights half the time during the Patriots game. A couple of weird, rambling comments as well. I thought Urlacher did a much better job...

the_bg
the_bg

Straight cash homey!

rokrjon
rokrjon

I was really curious when I first saw Moss at the desk.  He really was engaging and provided a unique perspective, especially when it came to knowledge about Brady, Belichick, and working in the Patriots system.  The accent was actually pretty cool and worked for him.  He was definitely entertaining and most importantly, knowledgeable.  I usually bounce around networks on Sunday but I definitely will enjoy Moss on the air. 

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