Sport is a theatre of loss and triumph, with plays and characters that could rival any Shakespearean tragedy. If you don’t believe us, just frequent your local pub one weekend during a playoff match and perceive the palpable tension in the air as the final minutes run down the clock. Few things are as heartbreaking as collective misery, and it’s in live sport that we see it most. Of course, when our teams do prove successful in their quest for dominance, there’s yet to be any celebration that compares. But though sport is certainly an eventful experience when it comes to the watching, broadcasters serve to not only entertain, but inform and guide us through the plays taking place on field. With Fox having announced that the legendary quarterback Tom Brady will join the network as its lead NFL analyst following his retirement, suddenly things just got a lot more interesting.
“We are pleased to announce that immediately following his playing career, 7-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady will be joining us at @FoxSports as our lead analyst,” said Fox executive chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch. “Over the course of this long-term agreement, Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt, but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives.”
“We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the Fox team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season.”
Brady was quick to confirm the news, and while it certainly presents an exciting opportunity for the NFL star, he made it clear that his every focus was on the current task at hand: steering the Buccaneers to victory as quarterback. “Excited, but a lot of unfinished business on the field with the @Buccaneers,” said Brady on Twitter.
Valued at US$375 million (AU$540 million) over 10 years, the broadcasting gig for Brady is a lucrative one and will see him earn more money than Tampa Bay Buccaneers paid him in 2021. It’s an obscene amount of money, but when you consider the fact that broadcasters need to have knowledge and, preferably, experience of the game, Brady’s expertise goes unmatched. That said, Brady will need to speak candidly of former players and colleagues, as well as the coaches behind the teams.
As Conor Orr writes for Sports Illustrated, “Once most athletes hit the booth, their corporate life of titanium-member travel and insider access hinders their ability to be open and honest to the millions of people watching a game. It’s stunning how quickly players and broadcasters with real experience and opinions fall victim to the buddy system of coercion from head coaches, coordinators and PR executives, who spend their weekly closed-door pregame broadcast meetings propping themselves or their owners up and often see those talking points spewed directly into the microphone on game day.”
While there are understandable concerns that Brady might just be yet another voice in the booth, most can’t help but feel this is an incredible opportunity for Brady post-retirement. No other player boasts as much experience as Brady, nor has any other player been as successful in their NFL career. As Orr suggests, “Broadcasters do not matter to the lot of us unless they offer something extraordinary on either end of the spectrum: if you are Tony Romo telling us what’s going to happen or Jason Witten failing to recognise anything is happening at all. There is a real challenge to break through in a meaningful and artful way, but if anyone could do it, and anyone has the contractual clout to try and fail, if anyone has the incredible preparation skills and Zen attention span to swallow decades of film and pour it out in a cogent way, it’s Tom Brady.