For Week 11’s showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings, FOX will add Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen to its broadcast. The Vikings have made their displeasure known.
Olsen is expected to play against the New York Jets in Week 12 for the first time since being injured.
Minnesota and Olsen’s Panthers will square off in Week 14. As such, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has stated with FOX that his team feels that Olsen’s presence in the broadcast booth is “inappropriate.” FOX acknowledged the controversy and while Olsen is set to remain in the booth, his access will be limited.
“We are excited for the opportunity to make this Sunday’s broadcast fun and insightful with Pro Bowler Greg Olsen,” the FOX statement said, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “We fully respect the Vikings concerns and will limit the amount of pre-game access allowed to Greg. We look forward to welcoming him in the broadcast booth and giving viewers a unique perspective this Sunday.”
This is an interesting compromise.
There’s nothing wrong with Olsen stepping into the booth for a week. He’s been injured and Carolina is on a bye. ESPN’s Matt Hasselbeck did this in 2014, when he was still an active player. So, there is precedent.
With that said, this is a curious game to put Olsen on. Really, Los Angeles can’t be especially thrilled about this, either.
This showdown between the Rams and Vikings is biggest game of the week and frankly, one of the biggest of the year. While Los Angeles and Carolina don’t play each other in the regular season, a postseason showdown is highly possible.
So, why does Olsen have to be on this game?
FOX is also scheduled to broadcast games between the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans, Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers.
Given that the Bills vs. Chargers is all AFC, that wouldn’t be bad. Tampa and Miami can’t really call themselves contenders, nor can Arizona and Houston.
With the possible exception of the Buccaneers (Olsen’s division rival), none of these teams would have much of a legitimate gripe about him being in the booth with unlimited access during the week. What essentially amounts to a broadcasting audition for Olsen certainly doesn’t need to be in one of the week’s best games.
Why not put him in one of the week’s lower-profile games? It would not only appease Minnesota, but it would also add something to the broadcast of a non-interesting game.