What should be expected from Tom Brady as a TV analyst?

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The big, unexpected news from Tuesday came during a corporate quarterly earnings call. That’s when it was announced that Tom Brady will join the Fox Sports broadcast booth, whenever he retires from football.

Lost in the chatter regarding his $375 million contract is the question of whether he’ll be any good at his next job.

“If I stopped, I think I’d have to find something else that I’m pretty good at,” Brady said in December regarding the possibility of retiring from football.

So how does he know he’ll be pretty good at calling a game? Some have presumed that he auditioned for Fox. Given the leverage he had in negotiations (as evidenced by his compensation), he wouldn’t have auditioned unless he wanted to. Why would he want to?

What has he done to persuade himself he’ll be pretty good at delivering compact, insightful, and entertaining nuggets of information in the 30 seconds or so between plays of a football game? It’s not easy. It’s not natural. It’s tempting to try to cram 10 pounds of information into a five-pound bag. It surely can and will be frustrating to not have the time to make the desired point.

His boyhood idol, Joe Montana, was not very good at it. Plenty of others have tried and failed. Brady’s mammoth deal sets a bar he may never be able to meet, even if he morphs into John Madden and devours an entire avocado turducken.

“Anything he does, he does well,” Buccaneers quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen told reporters on Tuesday regarding Brady’s prospects as a broadcaster. “So if you told me he was going to become a plumber, I would tell you he’ll end up being a great plumber, because that’s just how he approaches things.”

Clyde is right. Brady will do whatever it takes to develop the skills. He’ll surely do practice games. He’ll fly eventual partner Kevin Burkhardt to Montana or Costa Rica or wherever to work on it. And work on it. And work on it. Brady will accept coaching. He’ll make the changes he needs to make. He’ll learn the art and science of calling a game.

The other question is whether he’ll say what he thinks, or measure his words. Consider his surprisingly candid remarks from a June 2021 appearance on The Shop: “What I say versus what I think are two totally different things. I would say 90 percent of what I say is probably not what I’m thinking. Which is challenging, you know? And I really admire people that actually can do that and say what they think, because they invite a lot of things into their life. And I think part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always try to play it super flat.”

For $37.5 million per year, Fox should expect that Brady will say what he thinks more than 10 percent of the time.

​​”I imagine not playing,” Brady said in December. “And I imagine watching football on Sundays going, ‘These guys suck. I could do way better than that.”

Chances are if Brady thinks that during his first game as a broadcaster he won’t say it. But what will he say when the time comes to offer fair criticism of what’s happening on the field? With 22 seasons of playing in the NFL and counting, Brady knows the game better than any quarterback ever has. How much of that knowledge will he dispense? Will he use jargon or will he use words that the average fan will understand?

These are all things to be determined. But, again, he’ll be determined to do the job well. If he doesn’t, he’ll hear about it. Hell, if he does, he’ll still hear criticism. The goal will be to forget about what anyone says and bring the same work ethic, pride, and determination to his next job that he brought to the one he performed for the past two-plus decades.

24 responses to “What should be expected from Tom Brady as a TV analyst?

  1. I think a lot of people are going to discover the seldom used mute button. Brady is not universally adored outside of NE and Tampa . I will give him a chance but have already located the mute button to avoid listening.

  2. One thing we know about Brady is that he spends an insane amount of time studying film, and that’s a big part of what has allowed him to quickly analyze the field situation and make rapid decisions. It seems likely he’ll be serious about studying film on the teams he’s due to cover the next week. I expect we’ll see some Romo-style predictions of what play the offense will run, based on the look of the field. Brady can do that, but he’ll have to learn to reduce jargon and be concise in his explanations.

    He’ll have to drop Patriots-style no-content talk too, but I don’t think that will be difficult, for the simple reason that he won’t be talking about himself or his team. One advantage he’ll have is that he knows just about everybody in the league. He’ll probably get good info from production meetings with coaches.

    I never thought Brady would be interested in becoming an analyst, but maybe he sees this as a way to stay involved in football that leaves him time for his family and the many other business interests he has. I’m wondering if he might have soured on the idea of taking a minority ownership interest in a team. Minority owners don’t have much control, and based on a comment he made during Man in the Arena, he might not be keen to be that close to the NFL owners’ club.

  3. ​​”I imagine not playing,” Brady said in December. “And I imagine watching football on Sundays going, ‘These guys suck. I could do way better than that.”

    Aikman projects that quite often.. and he seemed to do just fine for himself.

  4. Nobody doubts his ability to analyze football. But that’s really less than half the job. John Madden wasn’t popular because of his insights during the game. On a local level, the same could be said about the legendary Myron Cope. Does Brady have the personality to make games fun? Tony Romo is a better commentator than anyone expected because he can break down plays without coming across as a know-it-all jerk. I’m sure Brady will study and practice, but there are some things that just have to come naturally.

  5. My team spent 20 years under Brady’s boot so I certainly don’t adore the guy but yeah, he will probably be a good analyst. There is still quite a bit of mystery around the Patriots dynasty, arguably the most successful in all of professional sports. If Brady is smart, which he is, he will slowly tell his side of the story from the booth over the next decade.

  6. He will be amazing. Everything he does is a 100% commitment to be the best. I can’t wait to get his insights real time during games.

  7. It’s a total assumption that he’d put in whatever effort it takes to improve as an analyst. It’s not the same thing as being a player at all, where your effort affects the livelihoods of so money other people. He’s gone from not playing to playing to getting into ownership to broadcasting all in a couple months. Not much there to indicate he’d just put his head down and grind it out for ten years as an analyst if he wasn’t enjoying it.

  8. What Fox don’t understand is that while Tony Romo is an extremely likable guy with excellent NFL knowledge, Tom Brady is not a very likable guy with excellent NFL knowledge. If you follow an NFL team that isn’t the Patriots or Tampa, there is a good chance that you rooted for Brady to fail for the past 22 years. And the kicker in all of this is the $350M fully guaranteed contract from Fox. What if TB12 doesn’t get the ratings?

  9. People were dismissive of CBS hiring Romo straight to number 1 and it was a big improvement. I don’t think people should assume Brady won’t be good at this, actually they should, it will motivate him to be the best announcer just like with his NFL career.

  10. well my brady fatigue started sometime during the retirement then unretirement and these insipid golf made for tv promote my brand matches, with his equally attention-needy friend in wisconsin.

    by the time he actually begins this contract the rest of america will also be suffering from brady fatigue.

  11. What should we expect from Tom in the booth? Typical arrogance and self-entitlement. I think he will also disappoint Pats fans as he will dump on that org/coach (and likely TB) when he gets a chance. 3 years Max, last one on Fox Super-Secret Probation. Put money on it.

  12. If something happens that angers him, he’ll wait until halftime then rip his microphone off and throw it on the floor, stomp around and scream at his broadcast partner, the director, the producer and the tech crew.

  13. Everyone complaining about Brady’s alleged salary is missing the point of what FOX needs. FOX overpaid to originally get the NFL from CBS in order to become relevant. Having now lost Buck/Aikman, FOX needs a big name to remain relevant. FOX sees what has happened to Monday Night Football and does not want to be in that situation.

  14. I think he’ll be great. He’s very good on his radio show. To the point of when he’s going to do it, I think he’s smart enough in this time of inflation not to sign a contract for years in the future unless he’s starting this year.

  15. So many negative comments and prophecies about what he will do in the booth and he isn’t even there yet. I get that many of you like Romo, but for me he talks too much. I hope Brady doesn’t blab away like Romo.

  16. If Brady speaks his mind, he’ll point out that BB has a losing record without him, and Brady won a ring with Bruce Arians

  17. It’s not hard to imagine him being good enough at it. What is hard to imagine is that after that first few weeks people specifically tuning into a game to hear him.

  18. I’m glad he’s calling NFC games, because I can guarantee no one in the AFC outside of Pat fans want to hear one word from this guy.

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