Paul LaPolice calls out NFL analyst Boomer Esiason: ‘better commentary was needed’

Screenshot courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Longtime CFL coach Paul LaPolice has constructively criticized NFL analyst Boomer Esiason.

Former CFL quarterback Chris Streveler took over from Kyler Murray early in Sunday’s Week 17 game between the Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams. He threw a touchdown on his second pass attempt, but struggled to move the football for the rest of the match-up.

Streveler threw a pick-six in the final minute of the second quarter to Troy Hill, who returned it 84 yards for the score. Esiason, subbing as the No. 1 CBS game analyst for Tony Romo due to COVID-19 protocols, was unimpressed with the play.

“What a horrific mistake by ‘Reveler.’ He throws it in between three Ram defenders as he is getting hit in the pocket,” Esiason said. 

“This isn’t the Grey Cup. This isn’t the CFL. You can’t just take chances and throw the ball down the middle of the field and expect somebody not to come down with it. There’s just no reason to throw the ball there.”

Streveler finished the game completing 11-of-16 pass attempts for 105 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. His passer rating (81.5) ranked 26th of the 39 quarterbacks who attempted a pass on Sunday as the Cardinals fell to the Rams by a score of 18-7.

LaPolice, the former Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive coordinator, worked closely with Streveler for two seasons in the Manitoba capital. He also spent time with TSN as a CFL analyst for the 2012 post-season and three full season from 2013 to 2015.

LaPolice shared his unique perspective on Twitter:

Having worked in football broadcasting four years, if I knew exactly what happened on the field I talked about it, if I was unsure I didn’t. I wish Boomer Esiason would have seen that Streveler thought he had a free play throw and said not a great decision in your first start in FG range.

Better commentary was needed, instead of trying to downplay the CFL. Players and coaches who worked in both leagues, praise CFL, others don’t, without knowledge. I’ve come to understand that in my 20 years. I love both leagues. As I said last week, the talent is underrated in CFL.

Proud of all the people and coaching in the CFL. We aren’t better or smarter, slightly different football. Winnipeg offence in winning Grey Cup with Streveler as role player, went three playoff games without a turnover. Things we preached daily and had posters updating completions to stress ‘not throwing it up.’ 

LaPolice used Streveler’s raw physical attributes to have success with the Bombers. He impressed the coaching staff immediately and played a key role in Winnipeg’s 2019 Grey Cup run, rushing for 82 yards and a touchdown in the West Semi-Final and threw one touchdown pass in the Grey Cup, a 33-12 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

After 20 years in and around the CFL, LaPolice provides balance with knowledge and evidence.