There are big unknowns that come with Tom Brady’s explosive 10-year, $375 million deal with Fox Sports making (to date) the Bucs quarterback and Cinch Hall of Famer his No. NFL.
Like when will Brady finally leave the playing field and enter the cabin?
Or are the Fox Sports suits done rolling and negotiating?
Much of the reaction to the Foxies’ bold decision is whether Brady, who has mostly shown his stoic side, while using an economy of words in his 22 years of dealing with the media, has the personality of everything man, the sympathy factor and verbal skills to manage such a tense act (without a net)?
Brady will likely work with play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, a stable voice. Still, given Fox Sports’ unorthodox history, what’s stopping the Foxies from going to a three-person stand? Brady would be placed in a more conversational setting. The partners? For more buzz, Fox could bring in one of Brady’s New England security blankets: Rob Gronkowski, who once worked for Fox. Or Julian Edelman, who once made noise on Paramount + “Inside the NFL.”
Despite being part of his original management team, Fox Sports has already assembled one of the most talented NFL broadcast teams to ever grace the small screen when he made his debut with the trio of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Cris Collinsworth, to replace John Madden and Pat Summerall, in 2002. Aikman, Buck and Collinsworth lasted three entertaining years. If the Foxies think a 3-man would increase Brady’s chances of success, they shouldn’t hesitate to use him.
While much of the mega-deal fallout has focused on Brady’s ability to thrive, will the gig even be what he expects? This is a full time job. It’s not about having fun. To succeed at such a high level, there must be a strong desire to put in intense game preparation. Know two teams inside and out each week. It’s a seven-month chore; not seven months of breaks for a round of golf. Brady will struggle with Tony Romo throughout the gig. Expectations will be much higher for Brady.
The easy answer to any motivational concern is MONEY. The reported $37.5 million per year should be enough to keep Brady’s nose on the grindstone. Then again, Brady already has plenty of money and a lifestyle to match. More than millions cannot change much. What made Brady tick, the love of competition and competition itself, will disappear as soon as he stops playing football and starts making a living talking about it. Making a good point, which is recognized by his Fox team or a Gasbag in Boston, will not compare, or produce the same level of excitement, or adrenaline rush, as driving his team onto the field to a winning score.
In the broadcast booth, there are no winners or losers. No thrilling wins or heartbreaking losses. No victory celebrations. Don’t jump into your producer’s arms. It’s a totally subjective business, influenced more and more by the inhabitants of social networks. Once Brady takes the mic, they will pass judgment. The days of taking a game into your own hands are over. He also has to come to terms with the fact that he is technically a member of a media body he never really trusted.
And unlike the costumes he’ll be working for, Brady isn’t going to get excited about a game he’s streaming by getting monster ratings. Voices do not move the rating needle. Matches do. Brady is a high-profile buy for Fox. He gives Fox something other NFL TV partners don’t have, a player recognized by many as the greatest quarterback of all time. Yet even with Brady’s money and gilded image, Fox and Brady are at huge risk.
If he fails, like other superstars (Joe Montana and Jason Witten), the word embarrassment won’t be strong enough. It would be one of the few times Brady failed, miserably, on a big stage. For the Foxies, the failure would be amplified if they let the proven practitioners they developed, Aikman and Buck, move to ESPN, opening the door for Brady. In doing so, Fox is betting $375 million that Brady’s star brand will shine inside a broadcast booth.
After calling the Yankees’ 1-0 victory over the Rangers on Monday afternoon YES, in which Nestor Cortes took a no-hitter in the eighth inning, Michael Kay continued his ESPN-98.7 gabfest by complaining about the negative comments he received for mentioning the Bombers pitcher had a no-no. None of this was surprising. The superstitious believe that a voice can jinx an unsuccessful auction by mentioning it. And thin-skinned Kay overreacts to most of the criticism directed at him. Yet there was a strange twist. Kay said there are other current baseball voices who buy into the superstition, going out of their way to keep an ongoing no-hitter a secret. Who? That Kay didn’t reveal the “culprits” was disappointing. He should have mentioned names. Isn’t Kay’s job to enlighten the listeners? Unfortunately not on this occasion.
When Tom Brady’s deal with Fox was made public, speculation mounted that the quarterback — if Tampa Bay didn’t make it to Super Bowl LVII — would have a role in the network’s coverage of the event. 12 February. The specification will come to fruition, but Brady will not be in the pit. “It would be too big a risk, even for Fox,” an industry source said. “How long is the pre-game show? Fox would find a role for Tom before the game itself. Meanwhile, Fox Sports must have a huge budget if they can afford to pay $375 million to Brady over 10. Yet, since the company said it would also use Brady as an “ambassador,” particularly for “customer and promotional initiatives,” his salary likely comes from the budget of a few different Fox divisions.
Watching Yankees baseball, if you can find it, is like watching a game show. Viewers can tune in (if they know where to tune in) and see Aaron Judge play for that big cash prize. YES should make it a reality show. It can also feature the Wacky GM who loves to talk about those “cheating” Astros. … Between the 2nd and 3rd periods of Game 4 on MSG, Henrik Lundqvist painted a stark picture of Rangers’ performance saying: “They were paralyzed on their own side. It was hard to watch. “Difficult things. … Sean Marks’ condition from the disorganized Nets press conference was one to watch on Wednesday. The same goes for Michael Wilbon’s assessment of Brooklyn’s dysfunction on ESPN’s NBA Countdown a few hours later. An outraged Wilbon basically said the GM was talking about jive. And until he gives the word directly to Kyrie Irving, nothing he says should be believed. Ouch! … When FAN’s Craig Carton isn’t claiming he broke a story, he’s mocking another potential job opportunity. Everything is so self-centered.
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The Pinstripe Express
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GUY OF THE WEEK: JAHAN DOTSON
The Washington Commanders first-round pick set an example that will resonate with the youngsters. He requested and was granted permission to miss recruit camp to attend his graduation from Penn State. Washington coach Ron Rivera advised him to attend.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: NOAH SYNDERGAARD
For backtracking. If the Angels pitcher is going to put his good catches (this one was about the Mets) on social media in real time, he can’t revise the intent. Apologies are accepted. We all make silly remarks from time to time.
What Judge Aaron said, “I just do what I do.”
What Judge Aaron meant, “I’m just doing what I’m doing, but with a lot of money at stake.”