Ron Jaworski played 17 years in the NFL, he’s been at ESPN analyst for more than two decades, and now he can add another bullet point to his resume:
Jaworski met with Chinese officials in Tiananmen Square two years ago during a trip to Beijing, pitching the merits of American football. Well, the result was the China American Football League, which is slated to launch in August 2015.
“We have gotten the okay from the Chinese government to bring American football to China,” Jaworski said on The Morning Show. “It really is an unprecedented move and very exciting.”
There will be six to eight teams to start, but the league – which will be arena style – expects to have 30 teams within five years. Nearly 10,000 people attended an exhibition game in China last November.
Needless to say, the growth potential in China is astronomical.
“They love the game,” Jaworski said. “They absolutely love it. It’s a robust economy (with) 1.4 billion people. That’s four times as many as we have here in this great country, the United States of America, and we know how many people love the game here. We think we could take our game and get China excited about American football.”
While the Chinese could become excited about American football, Americans are already excited about American football, and they – like Jaworski – cannot wait for the NFL season to start. But while most of us have non-football day jobs, Jaworski lives and breathes the game 24/7.
Well, not quite. But close.
“It’s probably between 30 and 40 hours of actual film study,” Jaworski said of his weekly duties. “Now remember this: My office, since I was hired by ESPN back in 1991, has been at NFL Films. So I have the opportunity to get the coaching tape and study the coaching tape and look at everything – the same stuff the coaches and players look at when they break down the previous game as they prepare for their next opponent. So I’ve taken that 17 years experience as a player and almost look at the game as a coach now. The tape really is my tool. So I love that part of it.”
So, Jaws, what can you tell us about the crop of young quarterbacks coming into the league? They were all great in college, but obviously some will succeed in the NFL and some won’t.
“It’s very hard to evaluate these young guys coming out of college,” Jaworski said. “The guys that are paid millions of dollars as NFL general managers and (player) personnel directors – they’re wrong about 50 percent of the time, so you can see how difficult it can be. Now you see them playing football with the big boys. And we know the NFL is big-boy football. It’s a quantum leap from even the collegiate ranks to the NFL.”
While Johnny Manziel hasn’t gotten the bulk of rookie media coverage – followed by Blake Bortles and Teddy Bridgewater – someone else has caught Jaworski’s eye.
“I got to tell you this,” he said. “The one guy – remember this a couple years from now – Logan Thomas.”
The kid in Arizona?
“He was sensational last year,” Jaworski said of the Virginia Tech product. “I know it’s a small sampling; it’s the first preseason game. But this kid got so much better in the last two months, I couldn’t believe it. I made the comment (while) studying him for the draft that he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of the boat. He was so inaccurate. The Cardinals did a great job of coaching him up. He’s got a big strong arm. He’s 6-5, 6-6, 250 pounds. I mean, his mechanics were flawless, his accuracy was pinpoint – I was really impressed with the guy. So remember the name Logan Thomas.”