PHOENIX — Charles Woodson, one of the most electric football players of the last quarter-century, had a feeling early on in the season that the Eagles were primed to go on a run.
This take was at odds with Sean Payton, a Super Bowl-winning coach who has since signed with the Broncos. At the time, Payton was a fellow analyst on “Fox NFL Kickoff,” the early Fox Sports NFL pregame show, and the disagreement became a running bit on the program. By November, with the Eagles at 8-0, Payton relented and agreed to drink the Eagles’ Jell-O and Kool-Aid.
Woodson parted ways with ESPN in 2019 after three seasons on “NFL Countdown.” He landed at Fox Sports later that year, analyzing college football, and vaulted into a role on “Fox NFL Kickoff” in 2021, and has excelled as part of the ensemble. He is part of the network’s Super Bowl coverage before the Eagles take on the Chiefs on Sunday.
In some ways, there has been a parallelism with Woodson’s NFL career, where he left the Raiders for the Packers and became a vocal leader and standout performer on their 2010-11 Super Bowl championship team.
“I feel like I was thriving in Oakland. Of course, it didn’t end the way I wanted it to,” Woodson, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2021, told The Post. “I felt like I was thriving at ESPN, but it didn’t end the way I wanted it to. I don’t look at it as I wasn’t doing well in one place, and all of a sudden I’m doing well in another place. I felt like I was thriving in each of them. But, coming here and being part of this crew, there’s a lot of attention on our show, and people get a chance to see me showcase what I bring to the table in another setting. I think that’s really all that it is. I don’t feel like I was doing a bad job at the other place and all of a sudden doing a good job now.”
Jeremy Mennell, the producer of the program, gushed about Woodson’s leadership.
“He’s a leader of men, just like he was on the football field,” Mennell told The Post. “He’s never afraid to push envelopes. He challenges people to stand behind their points or expand on them and dig deeper into that conversation. The fact that he doesn’t shy away from friendly confrontation makes it better each week.”
Woodson, who won the 1997 Heisman Trophy as a standout at Michigan, praised the “family atmosphere” with the show’s other talents, Charissa Thompson, Michael Vick and Payton, producer Jeremy Mennell and researcher Jaret Klein and the collegial environment of Fox Sports in general.
“Just been having fun with the crew,” Woodson said. “Everybody here before I actually signed the deal was very welcoming. They couldn’t wait for me to join the show. I appreciated that love in coming over. But I’d just say that we’re just having fun. We have a great time, and that’s what I love about it.”
Outside of broadcasting, Woodson has launched growing wine and whiskey businesses. Intercept Wine launched in 2019 and has gained national distribution. It’s available in Cabernet, Pinot, Red Blend and Chardonnay and retails for around $20 a bottle. Woodson Whiskey produces 80 proof bourbon in Kentucky and then finishes it in wine barrels.
“It’s a very approachable, easy-drinking bourbon that is really taking off,” Woodson said. “We’re in about 7-8 states, looking to add 3-4 in the next couple months, and gearing up to try to get national distribution.”
Woodson is also a star and executive producer of the documentary “Perfect 10,” covering the 10 athletes who both won the Heisman Trophy and were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which debuts Saturday, Feb. 11 at 8:00 pm ET on Fox.