We need to talk about Rodney Harrison’s seriously unprofessional postgame interview of Chris Jones.
Honestly, this shocked me.
Every year as the NFL has more and more broadcast partners, an increasing number of former players and coaches are getting opportunities to be part of the pregame, postgame, or broadcast crews.
I’ve been in the booth. I’ve done every kind of analysis there is, and I know that there can be pitfalls and temptations when that red light comes on, to put a message out to the public that might not be something the audience is ready to digest.
Rodney Harrison though? He shouldn’t be that guy. He’s been part of NBC’s coverage for fifteen years now. And NBC is supposed to be the classy channel, serving up football to the morally upstanding crowd that spent the rest of their football viewing hours at church or with their families.
So what happened? Let’s get into it.
The Kansas City Chiefs just finished a 23-20 win over the New York Jets in front of Taylor Swift.
I’m not sure if you caught one of the 500 mentions that she was at the game.
And Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones, who sacked Zach Wilson in the win, was invited up to the booth to speak with Harrison and Tony Dungy.
Harrison asked Jones : Was Zach better tonight than what you anticipated he would be watching him on tape? And you can be honest.
Jones replied with: Honestly, if I’m being completely honest, we knew it was gonna be a battle. He’s continuing to get better week in and week out. He’s continuing to lead week in and week out
At this point it went off the rails, Harrison interrupted to call Zach Wilson “garbage,” and when Jones pushed back and said that “Zach Wilson is special,” Harrison finished the exchange disagreeing, saying that “I think he had a special night, but I don’t think he’s “special.”‘
Look, no one thinks that Zach Wilson is out here tearing up the league. He was replaced by Aaron Rodgers this season. The Jets knew Wilson wasn’t ready to be the guy in 2023, but he just put together a good enough game to keep the Jets within striking distance against the defending Super Bowl champions. Was right then and there really the time to be calling this man “garbage?”
And if you’re going to call a player garbage, what do you need Chris Jones to agree with you for? You have a platform. Call the man garbage on your own time.
You wasted a moment with one of the game’s best defensive players, who earned the right to talk about HIS team and all they’ve done to stay on top, to bring negativity to the set and embarrass yourself in front of America.
Now, to Harrison’s credit, he apparently did reach out and apologize for his comments, but I’m more concerned with how we got to this point in the first place. Everyone has takes that are too hot for broadcast TV, and some networks have build an entire sports talk economy so there can be a place for those takes. If Rodney Harrison wants to step off that NBC desk and do the podcast circuit, or get on the radio with me and chop it up, anything goes.
But we can’t have people that have reached the pinnacle of broadcasting looking down at these hot take streets and trying to have one foot in both worlds. And we definitely can’t have people in that role setting up the game’s best athletes to take the bait and end up in some drama that they never wanted to be a part of.
Let that sink in.