Sports | April 29, 2021 3:52 pm

The NFL’s NY Jets Are a Top Pipeline for Producing ESPN Talent

If the Jets were as good at producing football players as they were as churning out analysts, they'd have won more than one Super Bowl

The New York Jets logo
A general view of the New York Jets logo at a game.
Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Though they weren’t always so good at playing or coaching NFL football, a number of former New York Jets players, coaches and executives have proven to be very skilled at talking about the sport as analysts for ESPN.

As The New York Post points out, no fewer than eight former Jets are now employed as college and pro football analysts by The Worldwide Leaders.

They are: Keyshawn Johnson (ex-WR), Rex Ryan (former coach), Damien Woody (former center), Bart Scott (ex-LB), Mike Tannenbaum (former executive), Mark Sanchez (ex-QB), Greg McElroy (ex-QB) and Tim Tebow (ex-QB).

Sidenote on Tebow:

For a network that employs around 20 full-time football talking heads, that is a lot of former Gang Gree talent But Seth Markman, VP of production for both NFL and college football studio shows at ESPN, told The Post it’s just a coincidence (even though he did grow up as a Jets fan in New Jersey).

In fact, after giving Tannenbaum a shot at the network in 2019 after ex-Colts exec Bill Polian retired, Markman wasn’t sure the former GM would be any good on the air.

“I got to tell you, of all the guys, he was not on my list of sure things in television,” Markman said. “I was sort of like, ‘We’ll give him a try. We’ll see what happens.’ He wasn’t looking for much money at the very beginning. He was very honest about just seeing if TV was something he could be good at. We were kind of skeptical, some of us. We were like, ‘Sure, we’ll give you a shot.’ I think he is one of the few people who has totally exceeded the expectations I had. Usually, it is the other way around. Usually, we have some big expectations and they don’t meet them.”

Though he wasn’t talking about his favorite team, Markman’s last sentence could certainly apply to the Jets on the football field. Fortunately for ESPN, it doesn’t apply to what former members of the organization have been able to accomplish off of the gridiron.

That’s good news for quarterback Zach Wilson, who is slated to go No. 2 overall to the Jets in tonight’s draft; if the NFL doesn’t work out, he’ll always have ESPN to fall back on.