New TV deal may give NFL Brady fatigue
By Jim Caltagirone
For the Mirror
Further proof that sports exist in another realm of reality was revealed in early May when Fox Sports confirmed that Tom Brady will join the network as an analyst when he retires as an NFL quarterback.
While the average American is stressing over how to afford the necessities of life, thanks to soaring inflation, Fox executives have determined that their programming budget can withstand a record $375 million payout to Brady over 10 years.
Assuming that figure covers two preseason games, 17 regular season games and four postseason games, Brady’s average salary will be $1.63 million per game.
It’s outrageous by any standard, but a reflection of the boundless riches that are stored in the Fox corporate vaults.
“While Brady won’t be the star of the show during broadcasts, you can bet he has an opinion that fans will want to listen to,” Dustin Lewis wrote for FanNation.
That statement is debatable.
There’s no doubt that Brady, as a seven-time Super Bowl champion, possesses perspectives and a wealth of anecdotes that will enhance a broadcast, but I’m not willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of NFL fans will be eager to tune in just to listen to his opinions.
First of all, Brady seems to subscribe to the Bill Belichick school of press conferences. He doesn’t exactly come off as particularly magnetic, insightful or oratorically gifted.
Excitability has to be channeled appropriately on the playing field. But, in the broadcast booth, it is a vital means of transporting the action from the stadium to the living room.
Right now, it’s hard to imagine Brady straining his vocal cords in Tony Romo-like fashion.
Second, there’s the matter of Brady fatigue. In a career that currently spans 22 seasons, he has played in 10 Super Bowls and 14 conference championship games.
His TV ads are staples in the public consciousness.
As the lead analyst, Brady will be assigned to the network’s premier game of the weekend. The attractiveness of the game is the primary reason why fans will watch. The broadcast team is simply part of the package.
It’s analogous to a concert. Do fans flock to experience the venue or the act?
No offense to legends such as baseball’s Vin Scully and football’s John Madden, but if the game is a dud, even the most interesting and entertaining observations of a popular broadcaster are not going to prevent a viewer from clicking the remote.
Although Brady will remain engaged with the NFL, he will be transitioning to an entirely new profession.
He’s going to be a rookie again, and the pressure is going to be more intense than what he experienced as a sixth-round draft choice.
His contract will only raise expectations.
“Following the end of his current contract with the Buccaneers at the conclusion of the 2022 season, Brady will have accumulated nearly $333 million in career earnings from his contracts,” Lewis shared with readers of FanNation. “Obviously, that doesn’t factor in endorsements, but it’s crazy to think his eventual deal with Fox Sports will likely end up being worth more than he made throughout his 23-year and counting career on the field.”
That’s exactly the kind of fact that is alienating today’s sports fan.
Unfortunately, this is the world that we live in — one where fair market value is anything but realistic.
Jim Caltagirone resides in Altoona. He is a monthly contributor to Voice of the Fan.