These Men Make You a Smarter Football Fan
One thing the incredible ratings from the NFL Draft shows is that football is America's true passion and love. The fact that the NFL selection show gets amazing ratings thoroughly destroying NBA and NHL playoffs as well as marquee MLB matchups tells you that America is football crazy. Being a die-hard football fan since I was 12 (I am 41 now). I fondly remember bringing my Sporting News Yearbook on family vacation to study the college players for the upcoming season. I am always looking to increase and expand my football knowledge. With respects to the great David Letterman, I have complied my top ten must listen and learned men in the world of football (my apologies to anyone I missed). These guys are “mandatory follows” on twitter; stop and read their articles and make sure to listen to their takes on trending topics in the world of football.
1. Gil Brandt-What can you say about the Godfather of the NFL that has not been said, maybe that he belongs in the NFL Football Hall of Fame. It is well documented how innovative he was during his days with the Dallas Cowboys when it came to the draft. Even to the current day, his draft day predictions are on the mark more than any other draftniks. His take on current issues is insightful and usually spot on, and he is not afraid to go out on a limb as usually his limb is quickly copied. Anyone remember Gil predicting Cam Newton being the first pick in the draft months? After listening to Gil talk about a football issue, I feel smarter and lucky to have received his input. Twitter: @Gil_Brandt
2. Pat Kirwan---PK is probably one of the two or three most underrated football men in media. His insights and way he teaches his listeners to think has improved my way of understanding and discussing football. Kirwan teaches you to look at all angles of any discussion and see if it works for all parties before agreeing or disagreeing on a suggested move. Like Gil and others on this list, I feel smarter for following Pat Kirwan and only wish he could land a spot on NFL Network or one of the major sports networks. Fans are all better for listening to the thoughts, views and comments of Pat Kirwan. A great gift for any football fan is Pat's book Take Your Eye of the Ball, where he gives you behind the scenes access and explanations not found elsewhere. Twitter: @patkirwancbs
3. Ted Sundquist---The general manager of my list, he would be the GM of a team if I owned one. Ted is another person who deserves a more visible national audience because his insights, views and understanding of the game and life are second to none. He knows what it takes to build a winner and which players are worth the risk and which ones are not. Those teams that are lifetime members of the NFL Draft's top ten would be wise to have Ted's resume in front of them. On my father's day wish list is Ted's book Taking Your Team to the Top. Twitter: @Ted_Sunquist
4. Andrew Brandt---The true professor of this group; he's been on both sides of football operations, as an agent and front office person. Andrew is a must follow on twitter as his take on a topic is usually not only correct but often informative to his followers and makes each one smarter. Football fans deserve having Andrew on TV discussing issues as his ability to break a subject down only enhances the football fans understanding of how it works in the front office and the agent world. Twitter: @adbrandt
5. Jimmy Johnson-As a lifelong fan of the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Hurricanes, the name Jimmy Johnson is extra significant to a fan like me. Johnson knows how to build winners and is not afraid to ruffle feathers with anyone in order to build a team his way. I appreciate the way he calls out players, coaches and team officials, regardless of their standing in the world of football. The NFL was a better place with a guy like Jimmy Johnson in it, and hopefully he remains part of the national media for many more years. Twitter: @JimmyJohnson
6. TrentDilfer---Unlike some of the other former QBs now broadcasters out there, Trent is not afraid to say what he feels, even if it is not popular. Trent’s insight discussing quarterback and offensive plays makes you get a better perspective from someone who was there. If Jon Gruden ever were to move on from MNF, my gut tells me that Trent would be odds on favorite to take the reins as the Monday night commentator with Mike Tirico. Trent is a much better broadcaster then he ever was as a player and shows his football IQ is one to be admired. Twitter: @TrentDilferESPN
7. Ron Jaworski---Is there anyone better at film study that Jaworski? Enjoy hearing Ron discuss what he sees when he breaks down the tape because you know he was sitting somewhere prior to appearing on ESPN watching the film and objectively breaking it down. Too often guys become cheerleaders of players instead of giving their objective view, being afraid to upset a potential star. All fans want is honest objective commentary, and too often former players and coaches let prior bias taint their views. You do not get that with Jaws; instead you learn and get the benefit of his experience. Twitter: @jawsepn
8. Mike Mayock---There are a lot of national draft experts out there, but with Mayock you get the feel that his views are 100% honest and not influenced by his relationship with agents, players, colleges or teams. Mike does not say what they want to hear, instead he says what you need to hear. He does not come across as a cut and paste draft expert, instead he watches films and makes his own objective view of a guy. Twitter: @MikeMayockNFL
9. Marcellus Wiley----During the whole time the DeSean Jackson gang story broke, everyone added their two cents and most missed the mark by a mile, but not Marcellus. He was insightful and informative and provided information I would never have fully understood if not for him. He has a bright future ahead in the media and hopefully he continues to rise through the ranks and may just accomplish in much more complete fashion what others before him attempted. Marcellus is not only football smart, he's worldly smart, and if we are lucky someday may secure a seat on a national show as well as a network football desk. He has a lot more to offer than just a good laugh and silly behavior, like some who have come before him. Twitter: @Marcelluswiley
10. Charles Davis---It is great viewing when hearing Charles on the radio or TV discussing the great game of football with a host and the host says something in error or flat wrong; Charles has the great quality of correcting them without making it seem like they made a mistake. His even keel and calm demeanor only adds to the information and wisdom he is providing, and like all the guys on the list, I feel smarter for having heard his take on the subject. Twitter: @CFD22
Again, I am sure I missed a few, but the men on this list should be “mandatory follows” on your twitter account, and whenever you get the chance to listen to their take on college or NFL issues, my advice is stop, listen and soak up the knowledge. Feel free to email me with any other additions to the list.