Why Is There A Bidding War For Jason Witten’s Broadcasting Services?

First brought to our attention by Bomani Jones of ESPN, networks are currently in a bidding war to pursue the services of former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten. The 15-year veteran and perennial pro bowler ranks in the top five all-time in receptions and is the only tight end on said list.  

I’m keeping it as 100 as I possibly can in saying the image that Jason Witten has been able to maintain, one of coolness under pressure, team mentor, and leader in the locker room and on the field of play has helped me form a very favorable opinion of Jason Witten over the years.  

It’s not hard for me to give him props, even as a Philadelphia Eagles fan, because he appears to be as genuine as they come, without a hint of malice.  Man, he’s like the Steve Rogers of the National Football League from a moral perspective.  Check out what he had to say about the NFL protest last season? While half the nation exploded in anger that was completely disproportionate to the matter of protesting and player activism, his words were measured.  

“It’s not a situation where you say, ‘I’ve got this, I know how this goes,'” said Witten after player and organization meetings prior to a MNF game versus the Arizona Cardinals last season. “You listen and you talk through it. That’s what the leaders did.”
This was said prior to the entire Dallas Cowboys organization, including anti-protest owner Jerry Jones, took a knee. It wasn’t to support the protest but to put a thumb in the eye of President Donald J. Trump.

El Flaco on Twitter

all the money networks were willing to pay peyton manning and the possibility of a jason witten bidding war tells you a lot about who the nfl wants its broadcasts to speak to.

“I think it’s just challenging, I don’t know that it’s awkward,” he said. “It’s just a challenging situation because there are so many different viewpoints on it.

“As a football team, that’s what makes the locker room so great – that there are different walks and different beliefs and different skin colors. But when you come inside these walls, just none of that matters.”

Suffice it to say, his candor was very much appreciated by this writer.

Though he’s no politician, pastor or coach, Witten’s well-thought response to what was probably meant to be a hot button topic was spot on. Measured where others were in turmoil, neutral when others were either too hot or too cold on the matter.  
To this day, we still don’t know whether Jason Witten was for or against the protest or whether he actually knew what it was all about.  But his approach is what was appreciated.  

Bomani Jones seemed to be taking exception the bidding war being waged over him by Fox and ESPN, one of which has reportedly offered him $4 to 4.5 million to commentate games.  According to Awful Announcing, that would be double his annual max salary as a member of the Dallas Cowboys. 

As it stands, Bomani Jones has been one of the leading voices at ESPN on the subjects of race, diversity, and culture. However, on this one, I think he’s a little off. I say that while giving full respect to the fact that his experience and knowledge base on television broadcasting is superior to my own.  

In a followup tweet the one above, Jones questions Witten’s qualifications.

El Flaco on Twitter

cuz it ain’t like anyone has ever spent a moment wondering what jason witten thought about anything. he wouldn’t be such a hire.

While I do get that Jones isn’t being nefarious and is simply questioning this potential hire, one seemingly steeped in favoritism, but Witten has had a radio show in Dallas on 96.7 The Ticket for several years and actually has spoken eloquently and concisely on hot-button topics over the years.

I understand exactly the sort of paradigm that Jones is alluding to in his tweets, I challenge the assertion that he wouldn’t be a great football commentator, like former teammate Tony Romo has become.

However,  bending toward Bomani’s point a bit, it is curious that no one is beating down the door of former player and DIrector of Player Personel with the Philadelphia Eagles. Riddick has been vocal about his desire to be a part of the Monday Night Football broadcasting team and has more TV broadcasting experience than both Romo and Witten combined. 

But, I would add, that Romo and Witten were star players on the most popular sports teams in the world, the Dallas Cowboys. Riddick is not. Could it be racial? Of course, it could! But I believe, in this instance, they simply feel Witten is the next hot commentator and they’re trying to gain an advantage. 

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