Kurt Warner on Tom Brady’s broadcasting career: You can’t be a nice guy and be good in this business

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (L) cha
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Tom Brady, if you haven’t heard, will become the No. 1 analyst at Fox after he retires from playing. Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times has spoken to multiple quarterbacks who have been there and done that.

Some interesting quotes came from Hall of Famer Kurt Warner, who has done limited booth work on TV and who has spent most of his time as a studio analyst.

“That’s one of the challenges as you get into television,” Warner told Farmer. “What am I going to be as an analyst? One of the hardest things is, when you’re a guy like Tom Brady that everybody likes and you want to be liked by people, and you have to figure out how to truly analyze and be critical of what’s going on but not be critical of people.

“Everybody’s afraid of, I don’t want to offend anybody, but I also want to do my job and I want to do it really well. It’s something that I’ve struggled with, because I don’t feel as if I ever attack anybody and say, ‘This person’s terrible.’ But there are times when you go, ‘This isn’t very good. They should do this or that.'”

The problem is that, for the people on the wrong end of the verbal barbs, the line between honest criticism and personal attacks gets blurry.

“I’ve seen people take it personally,” Warner said. “You can’t just be a nice guy and really be good in this business. Now, calling games can be different than being an analyst in a studio. But at the same time, you’ve got to be able to be critical. . . . For me, I never attack a person, but I always attack a problem.”

Brady has said he rarely says what he actually thinks. In reality, however, how many of us constantly share our innermost thoughts with everyone in our lives? Whether it’s being tactful or picking battles or adopting a completely dishonest persona in order to avoid any and all entanglements from daring to tell the truth, there are reasons for human beings to maintain a very thick filter between brain and mouth.

Apart from the content, Brady also will have to learn the mechanics. He’ll be speaking in very short sound bites, stopping for the next play, studying what happens as it happens, listening to the producer via his earpiece, and trying to think of the next thing to say. And so on. And so on. Over and over and over until the game ends.

Rich Gannon, the NFL’s MVP in 2002, told Farmer that, when Gannon became a broadcaster in 2005, he didn’t understand the timing and rhythm of a broadcast. He learned on the job. Brady presumably will teach himself those things before he’s ever on the job.

Ultimately, he’ll want to be great and he’ll want to be liked. And he’ll strive to find that tiny little sweet spot that allows him to be both.

30 responses to “Kurt Warner on Tom Brady’s broadcasting career: You can’t be a nice guy and be good in this business

  1. Romo is the best out there. He can call the defense before the snap and break down the offensive play and why it worked or didn’t work, and even explain the audibles. He is the standard Brady needs to strive for.

  2. A lot of people don’t like Tom Brady. And, there’s plenty of good reasons.

  3. Baloney, one can be highly analytical without being rude or offensive in any way, that’s the skill of the analysts or commentator. We need better higher-level sports discussions, and there’s a huge opportunity for Tom Brady to fill that role we need.

  4. Gronk as a sideline reporter would be hilarious…

    Fox needs to make sure Brady’s first game as an analyst is in New England, not Tampa.

  5. It’s Brady’s way or no way. Everyone involved will have to take orders from him. It should be interesting.

  6. Apparently Kurt has never met Tony Dungy.

    .. and for that matter, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve heard Kurt call anyone out.

  7. For “a lot of people not liking Tom Brady,” he sure did lead the league in merchandise sales this past season. Get out of your echo chamber.

  8. Warner is by far the kindest analyst I have ever heard. I really think he is just an authentic nice guy.
    Brady on the other hand, I just don’t know yet.

  9. Nobody wants to see TB12 as a an announcer even his wife and family don’t. What happened to his retirement? I guess he must really need the money maybe??

  10. Kurt, just relax he is way out of your league. Try answering your followers on youtube who ask a question for once, instead of trying to give others advice.

  11. I’d be shocked if Brady is a decent broadcaster. If he has the chops or the personality to do it, I’ve never seen it. He says as little as possible, just like his old coach, and I really don’t think there’s much else beyond that. He’s like the hot girl who never had to develop a personality. Now if Aaron Rodgers does it, it’s probably must see TV. He’s like a Vince McMahon, except he actually believes what he’s talking about.

  12. I think he’ll be good. Former players are not always good commentators or analysts but I think if there’s someone who can go from player to the booth, it’ll be him. Sure there will be mistakes but in the end he’ll be get accustomed to to it and I’m sure he’ll put in the work. He’ll have all the support necessary to be successful. In the end,he still gets to come home to Giselle! Must be nice.

  13. When Joe Montana retired they tried to get him in front of the camera serveral different ways and none of them worked out. I don’t see Brady being that good at this either.

  14. Except that Tom Brady is the quintessential alpha male. He literally doesn’t care if the whole world hates him and he won’t compromise to get what he wants. That doesn’t mean he’s going to go out of his way to create drama or p*ss someone off but he’s not going to let anything knock him off his purpose, either.

  15. Both Gruden and Collinsworth made a career out of not being critical. In fact, every player they ever talked about was the best player they ever saw.

  16. Brady isn’t a nice guy. He plays one on TV, but even then there are times the mask slips off.

  17. Deathspiralx says

    ‘A lot of people don’t like Tom Brady. And, there’s plenty of good reasons.’

    But the only one that matters is that he didn’t win Super Bowls for your team.

  18. This is why I like Aikman as an analyst. He isn’t afraid to speak the truth. He shares some harsh criticisms, even of his former team (probably even harsher on them than anybody) and you know you’re getting a genuine opinion.

  19. “. . . . For me, I never attack a person, but I always attack a problem.” So Kurt, during deflate gate you didn’t personally attack Brady, calling him a cheater and what not? Or was that just a problem because you had a problem with Brady?

  20. Let’s be honest here. Troy Aikman is not that big of a shoe to fill in. Tony Romo is currently the standard.

  21. Why Kurt? You made a living at it. No former player on TV commentating on the game and it’s players say anything worth hearing or reading. If they did, no current player would speak to him

  22. I get what Warner is trying to say.

    When the analyst points out blown coverage and who screwed up, it will anger players. I think that Brady will be OK with that, considering he’s getting paid $40M a year to talk.

  23. Fans like to complain about announcers, but I never get that worked up about it. I used to dislike Dan Dierdorf, just thought he wasn’t insightful. As others have said, I think Romo is great and I have no problem with Aikman. I also think Darryl Johnston is good.

    Brady is very smart and knows the game. I think he comes across fine in interviews – he keeps things bland, but that’s part of the Patriot way. He’ll be fine. It’s not an easy job, but he knows the game, so he’ll have no problems.

  24. anyone that has seen Tom on the field knows he can be as much of a bbuster as anyone so when he gets in the booth – you won’t be disappointed Kurt

  25. Demonstrably not so. Tony is the ultimate nice guy and best in the business. What you can’t be is a prisoner of your own past as a player. Kurt is, Tony moved on.

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