Matt Ryan replaces Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason as new quarterback on CBS' 'The NFL Today'

Matt Ryan is in.

Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms are out.

CBS is replacing two former quarterbacks with a recently retired one as analysts on its “The NFL Today” studio show on Sundays this fall, the network announced Monday. Ryan will join a cast that includes host James Brown and analysts Bill Cowher, Nate Burleson and J.J. Watt, all returning from last season.

Watt took to X to give shout-outs to his colleagues, both coming and going.

“Phil & Boom are absolute legends of the game and will certainly be missed,” wrote Watt, who joined the studio crew in 2023. “Very thankful for their kindness and support last season. True pro’s pros. Welcome aboard @M_Ryan02!”

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Ryan was named the league most valuable player in 2016 and led the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl that season, where they lost to the New England Patriots in overtime after leading 28-3 in the third quarter. Ryan played 14 of his 15 seasons with the Falcons and retired last week after not playing during the 2023 season. He worked for CBS last year, serving as an in-game analyst during the regular season and working in the studio during the postseason.

“I grew up watching ‘The NFL Today’ so I’m honored to join this iconic show and hope to continue the high standard set by Phil, Boomer and others before me,” Ryan, 38, said in a statement released Monday by CBS Sports.

CBS Sports President and Chief Executive David Benson said of Ryan in the statement: “We love the chemistry he has with the studio crew and we’re excited to see him entertain NFL fans and share his passion, insight and perspective alongside JB, Nate, Coach and JJ.”

Like Ryan, Esiason is a former NFL MVP (1988) who made four Pro Bowls and lost a Super Bowl in heartbreaking fashion, watching from the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline as Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to victory with a legendary drive in the final 3 minutes 20 seconds of Super Bowl XXIII. After retiring in 1997, Esiason spent two years as color analyst on “Monday Night Football” before landing on “The NFL Today,” where he remained for the next 22 years.

Esiason, 63, announced his departure from the CBS show Monday during the New York sports radio program he hosts with Gregg Giannotti, saying the move was “more their decision than maybe mine.”

Saying he is “grateful and privileged” to have had such a long run on the program, Esiason said the show’s producers “always allowed me to say what I wanted to say. Never told me what to say, no matter how controversial a subject may be, just ‘Be you and say what you wanna say,’ and they never took that away from me. And I can’t say enough about that.”

He added: “I’m happy to get my weekends back. I haven’t really had extended weekends for about 40 years, when you think about it.”

Simms, 68, was a two-time Pro Bowl selection who led the New York Giants to victory in Super Bowl XXI — in which he was named the game’s MVP — and Super Bowl XXV. He went into broadcasting after retiring from football in 1993 and spent the last 26 years with CBS Sports, as lead game analyst for nearly two decades before switching to the studio in 2017.

“Great 26 yrs run with CBS SPORTS,” Simms posted on X Monday. “Even though that part of my career is over I look forward to what is next.”

Benson said in his statement: “Phil and Boomer set the standard of excellence for NFL analysts. We are so grateful for their immeasurable contributions to CBS Sports. We genuinely thank them for being incredible teammates and for their passion, dedication and commitment to elevating CBS Sports’ NFL coverage every season.”

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