Tom Brady is destined to fail on TV.
It’s not that he doesn’t know the game of football or doesn’t have star quality.
For sure, Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, has all of that and more.
But when he retires from the NFL and is inserted into the broadcast booth as FOX’s lead NFL analyst, the pressure will be on to live up to the ridiculous contract he is expected to have.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Brady had signed a 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX.
It’s an obscene deal when you think he’s entering season No. 23 in his career and has earned just $317 million total in NFL money. Money aside, there’s definitely no guarantee Brady will be as good at broadcasting as he has been at playing quarterback.
It’s not automatic.
Let’s be honest. Brady hasn’t been a quote machine, or been riveting.
In fact, Brady has been dullsville. He’s been a gee-whiz, aw shucks.
The other thing that might not play is that Brady doesn’t come off as honest. At best, he’s disingenuous. Viewers generally want to believe and like the person they are watching.
And here’s another bump in the road. Brady is a polarizing figure. Many love him. But there’s another large segment of the population that despises him. A lot of the distaste has to come with Brady and the New England Patriots’ cheating scandals. Sometimes it works pitting two factions against each other. But not always. ESPN tried Rush Limbaugh. He had a huge radio following. He loved football. The network thought it would be a layup. Rush’s minions would flock to watch him on their NFL shows. But the ratings didn’t go through the roof. In reality, many football fans refused to watch the polarizing radio talk-show host.
And after some uncomfortable, racist comments, Limbaugh was canned.
And being a great quarterback doesn’t mean you won’t flop on TV. Just ask Joe Montana, the former star San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
For many, Montana remains the Greatest of All Time at QB. After all, Cool Joe was 4-0 in Super Bowls. In those games, he threw 11 touchdowns with no interceptions. He won three SB MVPs. He won two Super Bowls with Jerry Rice, and two without him.
Hence, many TV executives thought it would be a layup to put him on TV, figuring he’d be a star. It didn’t happen. Montana went to work for NBC and was a flop. Montana quit after just nine games in 1995.
Despite checking all the boxes, he didn’t have the flare, energy or pop you need on TV.
In all honesty, Montana was a bore talking about football.
So was Julius Erving talking basketball. He was another superstar athlete who flopped on NBC, too. They tried to make him an expert analyst.
Sadly, his knowledge was buried by his lack of personality and camera presence. It was a hard watch to see Dr. J. perform on TV like a hospital orderly.
Another former NFL star who crashed and burned trying to be a TV star was Emmitt Smith, the star former Cowboys running back. On the field, he was one of the best, the game’s all-time leading rushing. On TV, he was painful. Reruns of Mork and Mindy were more enjoyable than Smith on the tube. ESPN had no choice but to fire the Hall of Famer.
For sure, there have been plenty of former athletes who have made the transition and are flourishing, including CBS’ Tony Romo, who struggled to win a playoff game in 14 seasons as Cowboys quarterback, but is making $18 million talking about the sport on TV.
Former New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is excellent at doing MLB games. Hence, there are some who can make the transition and become solid broadcasters.
But more fail, and fall by the wayside.
Chances are Brady won’t have that much success. He was never someone people thought was smart or insightful. Brady didn’t give you anything when he had his uniform on.
For sure, Brady will be getting plenty of loot. But viewers will more than likely feel cheated.