Can't Wait: Bart Scott Has No Intentions Of Biting His Tongue In New CBS Gig
CBS yesterday tapped analyst Bart Scott to round out its new-look panel for “The NFL Today” for the '14 season. Scott, an 11-year NFL veteran, signed a two-year deal with an option for a third season. He will contribute to Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” and provide analysis across other platforms on the net, including a weekly segment on CBS Sports Network’s “That Other Pregame Show.” The addition of Scott comes less than a week after CBS signed Tony Gonzalez and parted ways with longtime analysts Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe. Scott made his on-air debut last season on “TOPS” and earned mostly high marks for his performance. He thinks a smooth transition to CBS’ premier pregame show is in order. “The length of that show (three hours) made us prepare and learn how to have good content and have a strong show as opposed to a fast, hard-hitting show like this one,” Scott said. “I understand I have a lot of work to do, there is a lot of criticism that comes with it, but I think I’m ready for it." He noted his initial plan was to use last year to heal from a toe injury and attempt a return to play in ’14. He had workouts with teams as recently as last week. However, he said, “When an opportunity like this comes up, you can’t let it go by. Looking at it, football would have been a one-, two-year job, but this I can make a career of” (Josh Carpenter, Staff Writer). USA TODAY's Tom Pelissero tweeted, "Mentioned that Bart Scott said he had workouts set up with teams. Reality, I'm told, is wanted him badly but toe's still messed up."
NOT HOLDING BACK: USA TODAY's Pelissero writes Scott has "no intention of biting his tongue -- even if it means the player he decides to criticize might end up firing back." Scott said, “I’ve got big shoulders, man. I can handle it. ... If anybody decides to call me out on it, I’ll be able to back it up, because at the end of the day, the film doesn’t lie. I’m not afraid of anybody. I don’t mind saying how it is, and if you play well, I’ll also tell people how you play well" (USA TODAY, 2/25). Scott said, "I’ll say what needs to be said, but I’m not just going to talk out of the side of my neck or my butt. I’m going to back it up with facts" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/25). He added of the opportunity, "It's equivalent to getting the Jay Leno Show or the David Letterman Show. If I passed it up I might be kicking myself in the butt for the rest of my life ... This opportunity is a dream for me to be able to step off the field one year and step into that arena now. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility. I know I'll be critiqued a lot harder now that I’m on this big stage" (NEWSDAY, 2/25).
WILL IT CLOSE THE GAP? In Denver, Dusty Saunders wrote the hiring of Gonzalez and Scott to "The NFL Today" is "tied to a familiar theme: a television ratings battle." CBS' pregame show "consistantly lags behind" Fox' pregame, which "averages viewership 30 percent higher than CBS." However, the addition of Gonzalez and Scott "won't change the fact that Fox has the decided advantage of being the 'home network' for NFC teams." The five "most-populated TV markets in the NFL" -- N.Y., Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and S.F. -- have NFC teams" (DENVER POST, 2/24).