I have been a fan of NFL Films for decades. The company, founded by the late Ed and Steve Sabol, was the first to have an all-access pass not only to the field, but also to the locker rooms, and the sidelines. It set the standard for sports highlights packages with its cinematography, music, and editing, which are all nothing short of brilliant, as is evident every week on Showtime's "Inside The NFL."
Greg Gumbel may no longer be the host, replaced by CBS SportsRadio personality Adam Schein, but Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason -- both talented broadcasters as well as veteran quarterbacks -- are still there to offer cogent analysis, and I'm glad they're spending so much time this season on concussion protocol and controversial calls by the officials.
But it is the addition to the "Inside The NFL" on-air crew of NY Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall that has made the difference this season. I can't remember seeing a televised sports show that included a current player among the regulars, and his presence adds an interesting perspective (and not just around game footage of the Jets).
For the last couple of weeks, Marshall has engaged with reporters from various news outlets in the studio in an effort to broker some peace between players and the press. He's also made some quite candid remarks about Johnny Manziel's addiction and discipline problems, as well as Greg Hardy's antics and role on the Cowboys' roster. Considering Marshall's own troubled past, his take on these issues has been very interesting.