Today, Diehl landed a much higher-profile gig. FOX Sports announced the two-time Super Bowl champion will be an analyst on the network’s broadcasts of NFL games, beginning with the 2014 season.
“I am very excited,” Diehl said in a phone interview. “To have this opportunity come about is unbelievable. To be walking away from the football field as a player and to be walking into being an analyst for FOX on Sundays, I couldn’t be more proud and more excited about the upcoming year.”
“We’re really excited to have a former player with David's credentials join our team of NFL on FOX game analysts,” said FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Production and Executive Producer John Entz. “Our sense is that he’ll devote the same passion and preparation to his new career that he demonstrated in the trenches for 11 years, and he’ll quickly develop to lead the next generation of NFL game analysts.”
Diehl has prepared for this moment – and this job – for many years. As a player, he spent his offseasons working in internships and working, when possible, in radio and television. He attended the NFL’s broadcast boot camp. And, of course, there were his hundreds of interviews as one of the Giants’ most accessible and loquacious players.
“I’m sure a lot of people are going to be shocked and think, ‘Oh wow, this is what two Super Bowl rings gets you,’” Diehl said. “Absolutely not. This is what hard work and determination and having a game plan beyond just playing football gets you.
“I’ve done every major thing that I could possibly do to prepare myself, to get the reps, to get the experience, to continue to improve, speaking and being able to give my thoughts in an articulate way, sharing the game that I love so much but doing it in a way that’s understandable and in a way that allows me to show people how much this game means to me and how much it has provided for me in my life and my daughter’s life.”
Diehl spent his entire career with the Giants. He joined the organization as a fifth-round draft choice in 2003, the 160th overall selection. Seldom has a player chosen so late accomplished so much. Diehl missed only 12 games in 11 years. He started at four different offensive line positions, helped the Giants win Super Bowls XLII and XLVI and was selected to the 2009 Pro Bowl.
Diehl played in 164 regular-season games played, tying Phil Simms for 12th on the franchise’s all-time list. He started 160 of those 164 games, plus all 11 postseason games in which he played.
In the regular season, Diehl started 65 games at left tackle, 42 at left guard, 26 at right tackle, and 27 at right guard. In the postseason, Diehl has 10 starts at left tackle, and one at left guard.
Diehl was always a student of the game and spent long hours studying tape of his opponents. He obviously can articulate the nuances of offensive line play. But can he speak to millions of viewers with the same confidence about coverages in the secondary or kickoff return schemes?
“Absolutely, 100 percent,” Diehl said. “As an offensive lineman, we’re not only the best-looking guys, but we’re also the smartest guys. I’ve always watched everything. That’s what set me apart as a player. I lifted as much weights as I needed to, I watched as much film on personnel and players and defenses. I trained. I did everything I possibly could to put myself in the best position to succeed on Sunday.
“This is no different. I studied the same way that I studied game film as a football player, and I’m going to continue to approach this the same way I did as a player. Each and every day, I’m going to work my butt off. I’m going to be well-prepared, I’m going to know the teams, I’m going to know the defenses, I’m going to know the schemes, I’m going to know the offenses. That’s why I was hired, because of my grasp and my knowledge, playing in the NFL for 11 seasons and having all of the different experiences that I’ve had.”
Diehl does not know who his broadcast partner will be, how many games he will work or if he will be assigned to a Giants game. But he can’t wait to get started.
“Playing in this league for 11 years, it was a dream come true,” said Diehl, who still works out at a gym five or six days a week. “Especially to do it all in one place and to do it with my Giants family, there’s nothing more I can ask. But after 11 years, I’m 33 years old, I’ve got a lot of life ahead of me. And I couldn’t be more proud or excited about this upcoming season.”