The Media Column: Is Tom Brady's broadcasting career already a failure?


does fox already regret signing Tom Brady?

It all seemed to be lining up for Tom Brady to make his Fox debut during Super Bowl LVII. The network’s underwhelming broadcast crew needs him, and he’ll be available, considering the Buccaneers got eliminated from the NFL playoffs Monday night.

Yet, it doesn’t appear as if that’s going to happen. The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch reports Fox has “no plans” to use Brady in the booth for the Super Bowl. It looks like his $375 million deal isn't going to start in 2023, just like it didn't begin in 2022.

And that's probably a harbinger of what’s to come. Brady’s deal with Fox might be the worst contract signed this side of Bobby Bonilla.

The idea that Brady was ever going to work for Fox was dubious from the start. He signed with the network in May — just two months after he decided to return to the NFL for his age-45 season. At the time, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said it’s “entirely up to” Brady when he decides to leave the gridiron and head into the booth.

But with Brady poised to keep playing next season, it seems like that decision is going to wait for at least another year. And that begs the question: when Brady is finally ready to retire, will anybody care?

Brady lost his luster in 2022. He suffered through the worst season of his storied NFL career, complete with sideline blowups and tons of poorly executed passes. The Buccaneers backed into the playoffs and were blown out by the Cowboys.

Monday night’s game was never competitive.

There is already speculation about where Brady will play next. The Raiders, Titans and 49ers are often cited as potential suitors. The Dolphins, who have been involved in clandestine talks with Brady since 2019, could be a factor as well.

But at this point, Brady might not be worth the drama and expense. At 46 years old, he’ll be nothing more than a stopgap option, and his skill level is debatable. Yes, the Buccaneers were a mess this season, and their offensive line was held together with scotch tape.

But Monday left no doubt: Brady was part of the problem.

It’s been an exhausting year for TB12 ™: Brady retired, then he un-retired, then he got divorced from Gisele, then he was sued over his endorsement of a crypto Ponzi scheme, then he got embarrassed on primetime in the NFL playoffs. He also starred in his own 10-part docuseries, “Man in the Arena,” and co-starred in a “30 for 30” special about the “Tuck Rule.” Next month, the horrible-looking comedy about four old female Brady fans traveling to see him play in the Super Bowl, “80 for Brady,” will be released nationwide.

After 22 years, we may have finally reached the Brady saturation point.

That’s bad news for Fox.

It would probably be choppy to put Brady in the booth with Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen, who have worked together all season. There’s also no evidence that broadcasting star power equates to ratings. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman may have provided “Monday Night Football” with a “big-time feel” this season, but ratings were still slightly down from 2021.

Shockingly, quality of games dictates viewership.

But Fox must’ve known that before inking Brady to his 10-year contract, right? None of this is new information.

Presumably, Fox signed Brady for some mega-star power. Super Bowl LVII is seemingly the perfect place for him to provide some.

But apparently, his services won’t be needed. Will they ever be?


al michaels has lost his passion

Dungy steps in litter: NFL Hall of Fame head coach and NBC analyst Tony Dungy has a long history of making anti-LGBTQ statements. But on Wednesday, he ventured into new, conspiratorial territory.

In response to a Daily Wire story, Dungy promoted the false narrative about students identifying as cats, and schools providing litter boxes for them in place of a bathroom. The repugnant lie is seemingly intended to discredit LGBTQ people.

Unlike his previous statements against same-sex marriage, Dungy can’t say he’s spouting his religious views. There’s no hiding with this one: it’s bigotry in plain sight.

Dungy is one of the most revered figures in the NFL, but his statements on LGBTQ issues speak for themselves. At this point, NBC must answer some questions.

The Al Michaels pile-on: I’m not shedding any tears for Al Michaels, who’s been eviscerated for his lifeless performance during the Jaguars’ epic 27-point playoff comeback win over the Chargers. The all-time great broadcaster earns $1 million per game for Amazon. Michaels enjoys a cush existence.

At 78 years old, it’s more than fair to ask whether he’s lost his passion. His performances this season didn’t leave much doubt.

Chris Long sees the future: In a previous era, Chris Long would already be sitting at an NFL analyst desk right now in Bristol, Conn. But since retiring, the outspoken ex-player has mostly stuck with podcasts.

In a recent interview with NFL Media’s Peter Schrager, Long says he intends to keep it that way.

“Being on TV, I get really uncomfortable performing,” said Long. “I don’t like performing and I don’t like being told what to say. Here, that never happens. For the most part, I think finding your groove in this side of things is just having conversations…It’s just a nice change of pace.”

An increasing number of charismatic pro-athletes are already hosting their own podcasts, which provide them with creative freedom. TV is rigid; podcasting is free-flowing. Podcasting is also much cooler.

Expect many more athletes to follow in Long’s footsteps, and fewer to trudge into the studio for “NFL Live.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports