Now the former Heisman winner and future Hall of Famer has a new home. FOX is planning to announce Woodson’s hire Saturday, industry sources said. He is slated to debut on FOX’s new college football pregame show, Big Noon Kickoff, September 21 when Michigan faces Wisconsin. The network declined to comment.
Adding Woodson provides balance to FOX’s show, a Wolverine legend to speak alongside ex-Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and a defensive player to fill the hole left by analysts Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, and Reggie Bush. He won’t be on every week but is expected to contribute repeatedly, including on November 30 when Michigan hosts the Buckeyes.
Big Noon Kickoff debuted as part of a FOX initiative to own the early part of college football Saturdays. Hosted by Rob Stone, it has received solid reviews after two weeks, and while its ratings still lag far behind ESPN’s long-running College GameDay, Big Noon Kickoff's viewership numbers are significantly higher than those for last year's comparable FOX offering.
A former Raider and Packer, Woodson will also appear on FOX NFL Sunday, joining fellow past defensive players of the year Howie Long and Michael Strahan, along with Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson. That show, which entered the broadcast Hall of Fame this year, has previously hosted other occasional contributors such as active players Josh Norman and Greg Olsen.
In 2016 Woodson retired after 18 NFL seasons, signing at ESPN weeks later. He joined a pregame program trying to find new chemistry, debuting at the same time as Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer, and Randy Moss. Rex Ryan came on in ‘17 in place of Dilfer while Samantha Ponder replaced longtime host Chris Berman. This year, it was Tedy Bruschi who joined the crew in Woodson’s absence. Woodson worked on Monday Night Countdown during his three seasons at ESPN, too.
FOX also reportedly had an interest in Woodson back when the nine-time Pro Bowler retired. Now the network gets the chance to add the cornerback to its coverage.