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Q & A with CBS football analyst, Charles Davis

Following is the Q & A with CBS Sports/NFL Network and Madden NFL football analyst, Charles Davis, which was previewed in the SIDEbar newsletter (thanks for bouncing over).

Ian Eagle and Charles Davis return for another year as an NFL on CBS broadcast team.Ian Eagle and Charles Davis call NFL games for CBS Sports.

Gail — What are the top three things you do to prepare for a new football season?

Charles — “First, I get away from the game (a bit). I read, relax, take a family vacation… This year we went to the Taylor Swift Concert – ERAS in Los Angeles. What an incredible show!!

“I talked with some NFL players that attended, and they all raved about the show, especially her performance. They particularly zeroed in on her work ethic and peak stamina (she performed 3.5 hours per show).

“As one All-Pro told me, ‘She put in WORK! And her cardio? It’s on point!’ Real recognizing Real. Fun to hear, and I fully agree. Amazing in every way.

“2. I talk with people involved with the game about style of play and where they think things are heading. I ask what we might see emerge during the season. The conversation goes for individuals, teams, coaches, organizations, etc.

“3. I work on my physical conditioning. The goal is to put in a strong spring/summer of work in the gym, on the trail and in the pool. It gets harder every year, especially with portion control because eating is a big aspect of the plan and that’s not something I’m very good at adhering to.”

Gail — As a former defensive back, how do you see the evolution of that side of the ball? Will things look much different this season? (Editor’s Note: Charles is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.)

Charles — “As a former DB, I expect the game to continue on the track it’s been for a while — throwing the ball! Defensive coordinators have been adjusting by adding more DBs on the field, even beginning with 1st-and-10. I knew things had truly changed in 2019 when a DC told me, ‘We play the pass first, the run second.’

“Consider this: Percentage of Defensive Plays with 5 or more DBs (game standard is 4):

2016 – 68%

2021 – 75%

2023 – ???”

Gail — Media has gone through worlds of change since you began your TV career. If you would, please share the three best things you’ve seen and how we, in and around media, can help make the not-so-great things better.

Charles — “I’m not sure I have three things, but I do believe we all (definitely including me) have to keep working to maintain our interconnection and personal touch with each other. So many things can be accessed via the computer/internet but being able to talk with each other and exchange information that way is still vital in my book.”

Gail — Do you have a couple of new book recommendations to pass along? (Editor’s Note: Charles’ version of “voracious reader” is on a different planet than the rest of us.)

Charles — “I do! Here you go …”

Harlan Coben – I WILL FIND YOU and WIN

Lisa Scottoline – ETERNAL and LOYALTY

Brad Thor – DEAD FALL

James Comey – A HIGHER LOYALTY – Truth, Lies, and Leadership

Don Winslow – CITY ON FIRE and CITY OF DREAMS (CITY IN RUINS coming in 2024)

William D. Cohan – FOUR FRIENDS – Promising Lives Cut Short

Sandra Brown – OVERKILL

John Meacham – AND THERE WAS LIGHT – Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle




Gail — I also know you’re a fan of the Showtime series, “Billions.” If you could cast yourself, what kind of character would you play?

Charles — “I would have to play a character that is not currently on the screen. Everyone on the show is perfectly cast, and I could not begin to think of stepping into their roles/personas. They do an amazing job on that show. I would like to hang with ‘Dollar Bill’ Stearn and Mafee for a night out. Wags might be a bridge too far LOL.

“And I remain #TeamAxe!”

Gail— You’ve been a voice of Madden NFL since 2016. Do people recognize you more for that or CBS/NFLN/FOX?

Charles — “It certainly feels that way. I have way more discussions in-person about what I say (or don’t say) on Madden NFL than anything else I do. Fans of the game only want the best, and I work very hard (as does my partner, Brandon Gaudin) to try to provide them what they want.

“We know we can’t please everyone, but we certainly try our level best.”

Broadcast Note: Charles and his NFL on CBS broadcast team, including Ian Eagle and Evan Washburn, kick off the 2023-24 regular season with the Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

©Gail Sideman,, 2023


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