Bengals Icon Boomer Esiason Reflects on Departure from CBS Sports

NFL broadcasting landscape shifts with veteran departures.

by Nouman Rasool
Bengals Icon Boomer Esiason Reflects on Departure from CBS Sports
© Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Boomer Esiason, the esteemed four-time Pro Bowler and beloved member of the Cincinnati Bengals Ring of Honor, has announced his departure from CBS Sports, marking the end of an illustrious era on "The NFL Today." This change is part of a broader shakeup at CBS, which also sees the exit of Phil Simms from the popular pregame show.

Joining the "The NFL Today" team are Matt Ryan, who recently retired from professional football, and J.J. Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Ryan, who concluded his playing career in 2022, transitioned to broadcasting with CBS last season, bringing fresh insights from the field to the studio.

Watt's addition is set to infuse the program with a new level of expertise and charisma, complementing the existing lineup of host James Brown, former Detroit Lions star Nate Burleson, and Super Bowl-winning coach Bill Cowher.

Boomer Reflects on Exit

Esiason, at 63, reflected on his tenure and the decision to step down during an interview on "The Dan LeBatard Show." "I was more than happy to step aside. I had my time there," Esiason expressed, highlighting his deep connection with the audience and his role.

"I loved that seat. I cherished talking to football fans every Sunday, but there comes a time when you have to find some time for yourself. And this was the right time." His departure coincides with the retirement of Sean McManus, Chairman of CBS Sports, who originally hired Esiason in 2002.

Esiason revealed that he contemplated acknowledging his departure during the network's Super Bowl coverage earlier this year but opted for a quieter exit. "I knew that Phil did not want to retire from this particular show. I was ready.

Twenty-two years. I have not had a weekend in 40 years... For me, it’s been a great run," he stated. Despite stepping back from the CBS spotlight, Esiason will continue to grace the airwaves on WFAN, where he partners with co-host Gregg Giannotti.

Throughout his broadcast career, Esiason was known for his candid commentary, often addressing controversial NFL topics without restraint. "Not one person at CBS, not one boss, not one producer, not one director ever came to me and said, ‘Maybe you should back off with that kind of criticism,'" he recalled.

Esiason's departure is indeed the end of an era, but his contributions to CBS Sports and the NFL broadcast community will not be forgotten. As he transitions to the next chapter of his life, focusing more on personal time and less on the rigors of weekly sports commentary, his legacy as a forthright and passionate communicator remains intact.