Aqib Talib scored mixed reviews from fans on social media following his broadcasting debut over the weekend. The Super Bowl L champion was in the booth alongside Dan Hellie to call the Lions’ victory over the Washington Football Team. Inside the media though, Talib is winning praise from his new colleagues.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal spoke to Brad Zager, a FOX Sports executive overseeing production and operations, in his newsletter. Zager says that the opinion one broadcaster shared of Talib’s performance carried significant weight.
Kevin Burkhardt was reportedly impressed with Talib and his unconventional broadcast style, an opinion Zager valued.
“If Burkhardt had told me that he was unprepared and unprofessional, Kevin’s words would have gone a long way,” Zager told Ourand. “We were all on the same page that there was something different here.”
The NFL on FOX posted a video to Facebook that featured Hellie talking to Talib about his first broadcast experience. Talib said that it wasn’t difficult to talk about what he was seeing on the field, but from a broadcaster’s perspective, the game moves much quicker than he is used to.
“What was difficult was the speed of the game,” the former cornerback said. “This was the fastest football game I’ve ever been a part of, man. Keeping up with the subs, knowing when to talk, when not to talk, that was the hard part.”
In the short term, there may not be a lot of opportunities for FOX to work Talib back into its lineup. Last week’s game may not have been about the short term though. If Zager and other executives are satisfied with Aquib Talib’s performance in Detroit, it likely has him on their radar for when they are putting broadcast teams together for the 2021 season.