You know it’s a big matchup in the NFL on TV, when Emmy award-winning CBS icon Jim Nantz is broadcasting the game. That will be the case for the Jaguars showdown at Kansas City Sunday afternoon.
For the second time in three weeks, Nantz and analyst and former Cowboys star QB Tony Romo will work the Jaguars game. And most of the country will see their broadcast.
Just as two weeks ago, when Jacksonville hosted and defeated the AFC Champion Patriots, CBS’ number one crew is assigned to this battle of the 3-1 Jags taking on the unbeaten Chiefs.
And while much of the attention, and rightfully so, is on Chiefs second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes taking the NFL by storm in the first month of the season, it was interesting to hear Nantz talk on Thursday morning about Jacksonville’s quarterback, Blake Bortles:
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CBS announcer Jim Nantz joins Jags Drive Time to discuss Sunday's game against the Chiefs. https://t.co/OnzQNNMGoo
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) October 4, 2018
On the “Jags Drive Time” internet show on the team website, Jaguars preseason television voice and internet host Brian Sexton, had a wide-ranging conversation with Nantz about the upcoming game, and when the conversation turned to the Jaguars signal-caller, Nantz did not hold back with some interesting comments:
“I’m glad that I’m the one that gets to address it… I think there has been so much negativity build up from those who cover the league closely… I feel sorry him.” Nantz continued on Bortles, “He doesn’t want anybody’s pity. This guy is as resilient as anybody can be. And, he has become, I think, a very good quarterback. And, I am waiting for that to suddenly gain some steam. What he did last year in the playoffs did not get enough acclaim. He went through three playoff games and didn’t turn it over once. He led this team. He did a brilliant job.”
No one should really feel sorry for Bortles as he is a massively paid NFL quarterback and has understood throughout his career that he would be a “lightning rod” for criticism, especially with poor play.
And, as has been well-documented, he was benched in the preseason last year by coach Doug Marrone and on the verge of being run out of North Florida. Bortles obviously played solidly, and at times well in 2017, his performance in the two playoff road games at Pittsburgh and New England silenced a lot of his critics.
Further, in that match up with the Patriots two weeks ago, and even without star running back Leonard Fournette, Bortles again shined with a 300-plus yard and three passing touchdown day against the Pats.
It will definitely be loud and hostile at Arrowhead Stadium, and you can bet scrutiny will be on Bortles, particularly, if he makes mistakes like throwing interceptions.
However, the more he succeeds and wins games like this one, the critics won’t have ammunition to come back at him.
And you get the feeling that Jim Nantz will be backing him on the air when Sunday’s broadcast begins.
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