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Another media feud is well under way.
Troy Aikman is firing back after he was dragged in a recent article by NFL Network’s Michael Silver for criticizing Rams quarterback Jared Goff throughout the season.
“Routinely trashed this season on FOX telecasts, specifically those with Troy Aikman as the lead analyst, Goff could reasonably assume that [Rams head coach Sean] McVay’s words about his quarterback’s play in network production meetings were far from glowing,” Silver wrote on Sunday for NFL.com.
The 54-year-old Cowboys legend joined Fox as an NFL game analyst shortly after his retirement in 2001 and quickly became part of its top booth.
“Unlike Michael Silver, I strive to be fair and balanced and do not have an agenda when doing my job,” Aikman told Sports Illustrated Monday on the “SI Media Podcast.” “The record will show that I have been a strong supporter of Jared Goff’s over the years. Unfortunately for the Los Angeles Rams and Jared Goff, he did not perform at his best in the games that I broadcasted this season and I’m confident Jared would be the first to agree.”
Silver’s piece was centered around Saturday’s blockbuster trade that sent 26-year-old Goff, two first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Lions in exchange for 32-year-old quarterback Matthew Stafford. The article defended Goff and seemed to point the finger at his fraying relationship with McVay, which he felt was amplified by the sportscaster.
After earning two Pro Bowl nominations in his first four seasons, Goff completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,952 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions during 15 regular-season starts in 2020. His struggles caused palpable frustration within the organization, which ultimately precipitated Saturday’s trade.
“You know that Bill Belichick wants the game in Jared Goff’s hands,” Aikman said in December, via CBS Boston.
“Aikman feels almost uncomfortable giving credit to Jared Goff for literally not missing a snap after popping his thumb back into place,” ESPN’s Jeff Darlington tweeted in December. “Can’t understand his disdain for him. So bizarre.”
Aikman was far from the only one to call attention to the former Cal signal-caller’s backslide during his fifth year in the league. He added that criticizing players as a former player himself can be a difficult line to walk.
“I do believe that when you first leave the playing field and you’re in the booth, you do have much closer relationships and it’s a little bit harder to be objective,” Aikman told Sports Illustrated. “I don’t have an agenda when I go into the booth. I try to call the game as I see it. And if there’s a play that’s poor, I try to point that out, but I never want to do it at the expense of anyone and I just try to be fair in my critique. I like to be fair when things aren’t going well so that when I say, “Hey, this is really a great play, this player is exceptional,” that people know I’m not just saying it to say it. I want the words that I say to mean something, and that’s only true if you’re really honest with how you feel.”
In 2019, Goff inked a four-year, $134 million contract with a record $110 million guaranteed shortly after the Rams picked up the former first-rounder’s fifth-year option. He carries the highest base salary in the NFL at $25.3 million heading into 2021 with a $27.8 million cap hit ($43.3 million dead cap).
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