The Media Column: The inside story of Brady’s negotiations with Fox makes his deal seem even fishier


Tom Brady is gaslighting us

Tom Brady’s deal with Fox Sports got even stranger this week. On Colin Cowherd’s radio show, Brady announced he won’t start calling NFL games for the network until 2024.

That’s right: Fall 2024. We’ll have a Biden-Trump presidential rematch and Brady announcing Cowboys games.

What a great time to be an American.

The revelation that Brady won’t be part of Fox’ NFL coverage for nearly two years only further fuels the skeptics who don’t think he’ll ever actually step into the booth. Brady won’t be part of the Super Bowl broadcast crew Sunday, and it’s uncertain whether he’ll even be featured during Fox’ five-and-half-hour pregame extravaganza.

Fox Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently shared the inside story of Brady’s negotiations with the network, and his recitation of events makes it seem as if Brady was the one being chased. In an interview with the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Shanks said talks started when Brady announced his 40-day fauxtirement. The two sides continued talking through the spring, even after Brady decided to keep playing.

Fox’ offer became too big to refuse.

“The offer grew to a point where Brady felt he had to take it,” writes Marchand. “The numbers and the fact that these jobs do not open that often [was] too much to resist.”

That wording doesn’t make it sound like Brady was clamoring to put on the headset. Getting paid too much money to say “no” is different than jumping at the opportunity.

Indeed: Brady is getting paid an insane amount of cash. His 10-year, $375 million contract will pay him an average of $37.5 million annually. Brady never earned that much as a player. He banked $300 million during his NFL career — $75 million less than his Fox deal.

As the greatest quarterback ever, Brady’s eye and feel for the game is obviously special. Fox Sports producer Brad Zager told Marchand he’s confident that Brady would be able to share his special insight with viewers.

“I think that you start with the fact that you talk to everybody who’s ever played with him, sat with him, watched tape with him and you just hear about the way that he processes the game,” he said. “The way he sees it to be successful at his level and the ability to bring that to viewers, I think it’s going to be pretty fun for them to be able to just listen to the greatest quarterback of all time.”

That might be true, but it doesn’t answer the central question: will Brady actually follow through?

Brady is involved in a myriad of off-field projects: TB12 Fitness, BRADY ™, 199 Productions. He’s going to keep hosting his “Let’s Go!” podcast with Jim Gray — which airs first on SiriusXM — and may be involved in more movies. His production company is listed as one of the producers for “80 for Brady.”

It’s possible that Brady’s deal with Fox encapsulates more than just analyzing NFL games. When Brady’s signing was announced, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the seven-time Super Bowl champion would be a “brand ambassador” for the network.

One year later, nobody still doesn’t know what that really means.

On Cowherd’s show, Brady said he was taking his gap year to “really learn” and “become great” at analyzing football games. But it’s hard to imagine how he could do that without, you know, actually calling a game on live TV.

From this vantage point, it seems like Brady is trying to kill time. Why else wait?


Brady’s gaslighting: Brady’s sit-down conversation with Bill Belichick on his podcast this week was the epitome of Patriots Porn. It also was the epitome of gaslighting.

During their exchange, Brady blamed the media for trying to pull the two all-time greats apart during his final years in New England.


“In my view, people were always trying to pull us apart,” he said. “I don’t think we ever even felt that with each other. We never were trying to pull each other apart. We actually were always trying to go in the same direction. I think when we were in New England for 20 years together, they get tired of writing the same story. Once they write all of the nice things, the championships, then they just start going, ‘Well, this works. Let’s start trying to divide them.’”

I’m sorry, but did we make up that line about Brady “pleading the fifth” when Gray asked him about his relationship with Belichick at the Milken Conference in 2018? How about Gisele saying at the end of “Tom vs. Time” that her husband just “wants to feel appreciated at work?”

Did we dream that Brady ended his career with the Buccaneers, and not the Patriots?

It’s great that Brady and Belichick seem to be reconciling with each other. But spare us the whitewashing.

the super bowl's relevance is fading

Super Bowl losing relevance?: The Super Bowl is the last big monolithic cultural event in the U.S. Every year, more than 100 million people watch the big game, and this year should be no different.

But polling numbers from Generation Z indicate that might not always be the case.

The Ringer’s Nora Princiotti runs down some of the figures in a well-reported piece looking at whether the NFL will forever remain teflon. While 43 percent of survey respondents Gen X consider themselves sports fans, and 41 percent of millennials, only 33 percent of respondents from Gen Z identify as sports fans.

Meanwhile, 28 percent of Gen Z respondents call themselves “sports apathetic,” nine points above millennials and eight points above Gen X.

When it comes to the NFL, only 34 percent of Gen Z respondents said they’re football fans. That’s well below Gen X (44 percent), millennials (41 percent) and baby boomers (40 percent).

There are a litany of explanations for Gen Z’s faltering sports fandom: social media, niche celebrity culture, attention spans, social justice issues.

Whatever the case, they’re just not watching as much. With billions of dollars wrapped up in media deals, this isn’t a pressing issue for the NFL. But it’s on the horizon.

Bye-bye KD rumors: With Kevin Durant getting traded to the Suns, we can finally rest the non-stop Jaylen Brown-for-KD rumors. They were percolating for one year, and nothing ever came to fruition.

A lot of times, the blockbuster deals that happen are the ones we never hear about. The KD trade is a prime example of that.

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA Today Sports