WATCH MAGAZINE_October 2021_CSI:Vegas

FOCUS | NATE BURLESON

you better at making the pass or finishing at the rim? What kind of dance partner are you? NB: I had a couple of years in my career where I was The Man, The Guy. But my favorite years in the NFL were when I wasn’t the number one wide receiver. I found comfort in being the Robin to Calvin Johnson’s Batman, being the Robin to Randy Moss’s Batman. What that taught me more than anything is that you can be a superstar even if you’re not The Man, so to speak. It also gave me the ability to walk into any booth, any studio, and either be The Man or, most of the time, complement and be part of a team. And 99.9% of the time, you have to coexist with somebody else, and not only that, you have to exalt them in a way that makes them look great while you do your job at a high level. I take pride in that. I really do. I take pride that I can work with anybody. When I show up in the studio, they’re like, “You’re working with so and so today.” I’m like, “Cool. All right, now let me adjust.” People think audibles only happen in sports. No, audibles happen

every day. “OK, how do I need to be? What version of myself do I need to be today in order for this to go harmoniously?” That’s what I wake up thinking every day. The pandemic meant the last year and a half has been filled with one audible after another. When James Brown could not host due to COVID-19 protocols, you were tapped to host The NFL Today at the last minute. What was it like to play a new position for the first time, live, in front of millions of viewers? NB: No doubt about it, it was stressful. I get a text Friday night from the producer, Drew Kaliski: “Hey, just giving you a heads up, James might not make it in this weekend because of COVID protocols.” He went through everything that was going on, and he said, “So I’m go- ing to have you host. It’s going to be all you.” I’m like, wait, what? I said, “All right, look, send me whatever scripts you have written, the complete rundown.” He said, “We don’t have all of that, but I’ll send you what I have.” So I went over whatever was written. I went

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