For 20 years in New England, Tom Brady was the ultimate team-first guy. He constantly signed cap-friendly deals that allowed the Patriots’ dynasty to roll on.
Guess what, nice guys don’t always finish last, because Tommy Boy, your ship (more accurately, probably a yacht) has come in!
Fox Sports announced Tuesday that when Tom Brady retires he is going to become their lead NFL analyst, inking a 10-year, $375 million deal. Fun stat, Tom Brady has earned $333 million on the field in his 22-year career. That’s a helluva retirement job.
Here are some other staggering quick outs about Brady’s move to the booth.
— $37.5 million annually is more than Tom Brady has made in any season of his 23-year career, save for 2021 when he made $39 million. He’s due $30 million in 2022, so the Fox gig would technically be a promotion. If there is such a thing as a promotion from being Tom Brady on a football field.
— The quick, lazy comparison made by many on Tuesday was “you know, Joe Montana tried to broadcast, and he wasn’t very good, why does Fox think that Brady’s worth this money?” Because it doesn’t matter if he’s good. CBS paid Tony Romo $18 million, and we know he’s not good. ESPN backed up a similarly sized Brinks truck to Troy Aikman’s doorstep, and though he’s come a long way during his career at Fox, nobody is speaking his name in the same sentence as John Madden or Merlin Olsen. The money doesn’t matter because Fox needs a splash. People are going to watch football games regardless of the broadcast team, but whether he’s good, bad or bad or Collinsworth, Tom Brady the announcer is going to be water cooler conversation. (Dated reference, I guess the discourse would happen now on Twitter? People bottle their own water and tote it around these days from what I’ve seen.) The last word on performance goes to Nick “Fitzy” Stevens.
“If we get vanilla presser deferential TB12? Meh.”
“If we get ‘I’m the baddest motherf—ker on the planet’ Brady? He’ll be great.”
— What do you think if you’re Tony Romo? What do you think if you’re Troy Aikman? Here people thought your deals were totally off the Richter scale and Tom Brady gets $20 million more. And he doesn’t get it now, it’s bread on a windowsill, his, whenever he wants it. What about the Mannings? You have a year of the Manning-cast, you work from home, people think Eli is nerdly funny. And now the countdown is on until Tom Brady not only moves into your neighborhood, but he’s apparently bulldozing your McMansions and building his own pliability utopia on top of them.
— What does this mean for the duration of Tom Brady’s playing career? Most pundits seem to think that this meant Brady would play one more season and move up to the booth. That may be. This is a fascinating turn of events for Brady. I never saw this for him. I saw a Michael Jordan-style post career. Clothing line, maybe eventually ownership, but definitely not coaching and any regular gig that would weigh him down. You know, like broadcasting the 4:25 p.m. game every week. But I guess he has $375 million reasons to say why not.
— My initial reaction was “I guess this puts an end to the Brady to Miami for an ownership stake” hypothesis. Some have agreed: Jeff Darlington and Rich Eisen came to a similar conclusion. While others compared him to Dwyane Wade in that Wade is apparently an analyst somewhere and also apparently owns a piece of the Utah Jazz. The fact that I wasn’t totally aware of either fact makes me think that comparing Tom Brady to Mr. Wade might be akin to apples and oranges. I want the Brady to Miami thing to go away. Maybe when he’s retired, if he wants a stake of the team and that isn’t seen as a conflict of interest, fine. (How could it not be, you’re literally meeting with coaches and players on your opponent on a weekly basis under the guise of “broadcast preparation.” That feels like something the NFL would like to avoid.) Just like Stanley would do anything to take points away from Dwight during Beach Day, I’ll do anything to keep TB12 out of South Beach.
— Brady will be fine in the booth. He’s a hard worker, he’s a capable speaker who understands the game. If he cuts loose, he’ll be great. If he tries to play it safe, he’ll get crushed. There will be no neutrality on Brady’s broadcasting performance. I would imagine that after 22 years of gridiron dominance there are some trolls out there sharpening their knives to take him down a peg or two in something he’s new at. Brady will be a must see, when and if he ever ascends to the booth. As we know with Tom Brady, things can change quickly.