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Matching wits: CBS' new No. 2 NFL team is Fouts, Eagle

DAN FOUTS (Inducted 1993) Team: Chargers (1973-83) Games:

DAN FOUTS (Inducted 1993)
Team: Chargers (1973-83)
Games: 131 (123 starts)
Passing: 2,268-for-3,873, 58.6%, 30,114 yards
TD/INT: 182 TDs, 168 INTs
Passer rating: 80.9
Titles: 0, 3-4 playoff record as starter Credit: AP

There are no changes this season in the lead NFL booths at CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN, but both CBS and Fox have new No. 2s.

Fox has elevated Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch, part of a meteoric rise for Burkhardt that will see him depart as SNY’s Mets reporter later this month.

CBS moved up Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts to succeed Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf after Dierdorf retired from the network. That is more important than usual this season because some Sundays the No. 1 team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be off after working a Thursday night game.

Fouts and Eagle have been praised for their chemistry – especially their humor.

“Ian is the ultimate professional, but he’s more than that: He’s basically a great guy,’’ Fouts said. “We’re the same off camera as we are on camera. We have a very solid relationship. I like to laugh and he makes me laugh.

“I just appreciate his hard work and the seamlessness with which he does his job and sets me up and cleans up my mistakes and smooths things over. When you look at my broadcast history, you know I’ve worked with legendary broadcasters, from Keith Jackson to Al Michaels to Dick Enberg and Brent Musburger, and with Ian I see the qualities of all those great ones.

“This is the longest, going into my fifth year with Ian, that I’ve ever worked with one broadcaster, so maybe there’s something wrong with me. But I like Ian a lot.’’

Does Fouts consider it a challenge to match wits with the famously witty Eagle?

“I can’t match it, I can only fake giggle at times at some of the things he says that I don’t understand,’’ Fouts said. “But I know that whatever he’s saying it's good, because he gets such great response from everybody that’s listening.’’

New York Sports