During Sunday’s Bengals win over the Eagles, the announcers were finally giving Vontaze Burfict some love. This was a stark contrast to what we usually hear during games and from the national media regarding Burfict. It wasn’t his attitude, perceived dirty play or notorious fines from the league that Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis were discussing on the FOX broadcast. Instead, it was his dominant play.
“This guy is a player.” “Nice coverage by Burfict.” “Burfict coming over, conscious to just use his shoulder, to get his head out of it.” “He just snatched that thing out of the air.” “There cannot be an inside linebacker in the NFL playing at a higher level right now than Vontaze Burfict.” “There he goes with another interception.”
Those were all quotes from the announcing duo on Sunday during the game. Here was the real winning exchange from Brennaman and Davis, which followed Burfict’s second interception of the game.
“I’ll say it again, there cannot be a middle linebacker playing at a higher level right now than Vontaze Burfict,” Davis said.
“There’s no doubt about it,” Brennaman responded. “There’s a lot of people who are not going to give him the credit that he should get as a football player because of some of the through the whistle, beyond the whistle, some of the hits... But it cannot be denied, Vontaze Burfict is an outstanding player. He’s among the best linebackers in the NFL.”
I was blown away by such positive remarks being said on national TV about Burfict on Sunday and I’m even happier about it as I listen again and transcribe it now.
The third member of Sunday’s broadcast team was Peter Schrager, the field reporter for the game, who also works for NFL Network on Good Morning Football. Schrager got to see Burfict up-close-and-personal and had powerful remarks to share regarding the Bengals linebacker on Tuesday morning.
“What a performance. Vontaze Burfict, what I learned, is a bad man. This guy was all over the field, he might be the best linebacker in the sport you don’t talk about... He had 15 tackles, 2 interceptions, knocked down 4 different passes. And was absolutely everywhere,” Schrager said on NFL Network’s morning show.
“I've seen J.J. Watt up close, I've seen Aaron Donald up close, there is no more dominant, physical player in this league than number 55, Vontaze Burfict,” Schrager added.
Schrager went on to praise Paul Guenther, talk about Burfict as a defensive leader and even said he thought Burfict’s three game suspension to start the season was “a bit much, an excessive penalty. The NFL reacting because they didn’t know how to handle it”.
Peter Schrager, +1.