Gonzalez in, Marino and Sharpe out on 'The NFL Today'

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

In a surprising move, CBS parted ways with two Hall-of-Famers while adding recent retiree Gonzalez.

Bill Cowher will mentor another rookie this NFL season.

He will also bid adieu to two contemporaries that helped him break into the business.

CBS announced this week that they are parting ways with former 'The NFL Today' co-anchors Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe. They are bringing in former NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez and may possibly add former Ravens and Jets linebacker Bart Scott to join Cowher, host James Brown and former quarterback Boomer Esiason.

CBS Sports executive Sean McManus hopes Gonzalez brings  "a fresh insightful perspective" to the program.

It appears that CBS is looking to make moves in order to keep up with the other networks.

The recent trend among NFL pregame shows has been to add recent NFL retirees to the broadcasts in an attempt to lure in fans from their playing days, therefore attracting a younger target audience. Ray Lewis was recently added to ESPN's 'NFL Countdown', while Hines Ward joined NBC's 'Sunday Night Football' cast in 2012. 'The NFL on Fox' added Michael Strahan in 2008.

The moves of CBS' competitors worked in their favor. While FOX's pregame show remained No.1, they also hit their highest ratings ever in 2013. Former Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw, former Raiders linemen Howie Long and former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson have been mainstays on FOX's team during that run.

'Sunday Night Football', hosted by Bob Costas, was prime time TV's No.1 show for the fourth consecutive fall.

Both Marino and Sharpe have Pittsburgh ties from their playing days. Marino grew up in Pittsburgh and starred at the University of Pittsburgh, piling up a 33-3 record at Pitt that included a last-second win over Herschel Walker's Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl.

Marino watched as his hometown Steelers draft Gabriel Rivera in the first round in the '83 draft. Marino fell to the Dolphins and riddled the Steelers defense by passing for 421 yards and four touchdowns in Miami's 45-28 win over Pittsburgh in the 1984 AFC Championship.

Sharpe's critical catch on a third and six play late in the '97 AFC Championship propelled Denver to a 24-21 win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh. The Steelers got their revenge on Sharpe and the Ravens in a 27-10 dismantling in the '01 divisional round.

The question now is what's next for Marino and Sharpe? I could see both getting back into broadcasting with teams that they played for during their careers. It's no secret that Sharpe is still close with the Broncos and team General Manager and Executive Vice President. Marino's presence at Pitt in any capacity would help give the program more exposure.

The CBS personnel shuffle did not include any media speculation about Cowher and his coaching future. It seems that ship has sailed for now and that Cowher will continue ruling the airwaves on Sundays and on Time Warner commercials in 2014 and possibly beyond.

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