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Why Tom Brady will be a flop earning $37.5 million a year as Fox Sports' lead NFL analyst: He's a "strategically dull man"

  • "Unlike Tony Romo, Brady will not be entertaining in the booth. Or insightful. Or excited. Or even alive, really," Drew Magary says of NFL QB legend's 10-year, $375 million deal with Fox Sports. "What he WILL be is meticulous about withholding his candor, which is of course what we all love from someone paid to give us a candid look into the sport. Tom Brady is a strategically dull man, forever drawing inspiration from the lobotomized. He can’t even make kissing his own son on the mouth all THAT compelling. When he takes over the Fox booth alongside play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt, he’ll almost certainly prove as useless a commentator as Joe Montana turned out to be (Montana joined NBC as a studio guy and lasted a Chevy Chase-esque nine weeks before quitting). I still believe, much to my detriment, that there’s an interesting person somewhere inside Brady. But if such a person truly exists within that Plasticine melon of his, he’s never letting it come out, no matter how well compensated he may be. It’s not worth his time, and he believes that you, the little people, are better off being stupid anyway. So, with that in mind, allow me to prepare you in advance for Brady’s ascension to the realm of color guys by mapping out, to the exact word, 42 things he will say while on the air."


    • Tom Brady's one job as an NFL broadcaster will be to simply exist: "Will people like him? Who cares?" says Ray Ratto. "He won’t be a person at Fox any more than he would have been at Disney, CBS, NBC, Amazon, YouTube, BeIn or Home And Garden. He’s being hired for his name because that’s all he needs to give, and so that none of the other networks can have it, or him. For that he will make a reported $25 million a year, or $5 million more than Tony Romo, who was the previous 'he’s making WHAT?!' analyst. There. That should clear it up for you. Brady will be as he has always been, because that’s the Brady brand in its totality. There will be no oblique snideness, no settling scores with Bill Belichick, no hilarious ripostes at Kevin Burkhardt’s expense, no mocking analytics or anything else. The totality of Brady is about saying of nothing and watching the world try to analyze that nothingness. He is zazen, the meditation technique of observing something and then letting your thoughts about that thing dissolve into nothingness. He is all about thinking about not thinking."
    • Fox is making a mistake committing to Brady when he has a history of being noncommittal: "Before Fox spikes the football... they should know that this process is destined for multiple lengthy reviews," says Kyle Koster. "Brady has already shown a Ross Perot-like penchant for changing his mind. Even those who have nuked their long-term memories to oblivion can recall that whole messy bit a few months ago when he hung up his cleats, then went out to the garage to retrieve them, along with his Tampa Bay Buccaneers regalia. Then there's the possibility that Brady won't retire for a long time. Pay no mind to the fact that he'll be 45-years-old the next time he plays a competitive football game. If we're to take him at his word — and honestly at this point that word should come with a dousing of salt — the seven-time Super Bowl winner would love to play until he is 50. It would still be exciting for Fox to introduce Brady's first booth appearance in 2027. It's also a tremendously long time to wait. Want to feel old? Kenny Pickett (who was drafted two weeks ago) will be 29 by then."
    • Brady's historic contract doesn't make sense because viewers don't care if a big name is calling the game: "Announcers do not shift the metrics on games," says Oliver Connolly. "No one tunes in or out (in big enough numbers to make a difference) on any given matchup because of who or how a game is called. The game is the attraction, the announcers just help elevate or deflate the atmosphere. Talking on the South Beach Session podcast, John Skipper, the former head of ESPN, said that internal data at the company showed who was calling the game made little difference to audience figures. 'I never saw a scintilla of evidence that the people in the booth changed the ratings even by a smidgen,' Skipper said. 'The race to hire people is mostly about internal pride.' Hiring famous faces to yap about games is about prestige and ego. The hope for Fox is that Tom Brady being Tom Brady will sprinkle stardust on the network, attracting a couple of extra million dollars in ad revenue here and there from executives who just want to get in the room with Tom Bleeping Brady, no matter what the audience numbers say."
    • Bill Simmons calls Brady's deal "one of the most confusing media moments in recent sports media history": “I don’t understand any piece of it, including the part that he might play two more years," says Simmons. “As someone who really appreciates all the great stuff Brady did for my life over the years, won us all these Super Bowls, all these fun moments. This seems to be a guy who’s just grasping at the next step, really since that last playoff game. Now he’s set up for this 10-year TV career, after he told us how he wanted to spend time with his family. If I was his media PR adviser, I wouldn’t know what to do. I think I would just resign."

    TOPICS: Tom Brady, FOX, FOX Sports, NFL, TV Salaries