Last August we wrote this. “When they decided to hire Bart Scott, CBS Sports brainiacs made the following mistake: They should have used him to replace one of the stiffs sitting at the table on ‘The NFL Today’ rather than relegating him to the kiddies’ table on their new ‘That Other Pregame Show (TOPS).’ That’s how good Scott could be.”
Well, Scott was that good. And now it appears he has the inside track to the empty chair left on “The NFL Today.” Industry stoolies went further, saying the decision has already been made to bring Scott in to join James Brown, Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason and Tony Gonzalez, the newest member of the cast.
Two vacancies were created last week when CBS Sports boss Sean McManus dumped Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe.
Scott had major challenges going into the “TOPS” gig. He was part of a cast that never worked together (Adam Schein, Amy Trask, Brandon Tierney). Not only was he called on to offer insights every Sunday morning during a marathon three-hour show, but he helped establish a chemical balance for the program.
Even more impressive was that Scott succeeded fresh off the field, his first season in television. He went right from the Jets into a TV studio. Scott came to “TOPS” with a reputation of being aggressive with the media — a blowhard bully who once called for a boycott of the media covering the Jets and threatened to “kick the s---” out of a reporter who was taking his picture.
Yet his personality (very stubborn, committed to his opinions and at times very scary) popped off the screen. It does not take long to figure out where Scott is coming from. In the NFL’s TV wasteland of seemingly thousands of analysts dishing similar takes, this is a great thing.
Also, Scott is reluctant to move off his spot, to alter his opinion. This is why he is an excellent debater. He can create sparks. Scott is an edgy character, but brings a natural balance.
On the screen he is likeable. His constant smile takes the chip off his shoulder. As a player we never liked his act. On TV we bought in. His love of the game is genuine. So much so that we heard Scott believes he didn’t get to leave football on his own terms and had a comeback on his mind for this season.
Now, that won’t happen. For once again, Scott will be talking about the game. And doing it on what could be a very big stage.