Tom Brady was the eventual winner on the field, but that success doesn’t guarantee the seven-time Super Bowl champion will make a seamless transition as he steps into the TV booth to begin his new role as leading NFL analyst.
Brady, 45, who retired from the National Football League earlier on Wednesday after an illustrious 23-year career, agreed to join Fox Sports last May as his age-defying quarterback career came to an end.
Brady, whose intense competition preparation is well documented, has an unparalleled knowledge of the sport. If he can translate what he sees on the field as quickly as he plays at quarterback, he could prove to be one of the best analysts.
But making the transition from the field to TV mode isn’t always easy, and being relaxed, laughing at oneself, and not screaming for attention can take time.
“It will be a challenge. Tom is a pretty serious guy, at least in terms of his public persona,” Neal Pilson, the former president of CBS Sports who now runs his own sports television consultancy, told Reuters.
“He’s going to get a huge amount of money from Fox and I think he’s going to feel the pressure to entertain people, and so far Tom’s method of entertaining people to play quarterback has been to show how good he is.”
The terms of Brady’s deal with Fox Sports were never disclosed, but according to media reports, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots quarterback agreed to a 10-year contract worth $375 million.
Fox will broadcast the Super Bowl between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 12, but the network did not immediately respond to Reuters’ question about whether Brady would be part of the lineup.
In pictures: NFL legend Tom Brady
Pilson suggests it would be better for Brady if his analyst debut didn’t come during the Super Bowl, as it would immediately expose him during the most-watched NFL game of the year.
There has been no shortage of players who became football analysts after their NFL careers, including Hall of Fame members Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Shannon Sharpe.
Rob Ninkovich, who won two Super Bowl titles with Brady in New England and now works as an NFL analyst for ESPN, told Reuters that a job talking about football on television can ease some of the most difficult aspects of retirement.
“Michael Jordan could be playing a game of three-on-three somewhere and still, you know, still shooting a basket and his sense of playing basketball,” Ninkovich said. “Football players, unfortunately, when you hang it up, you never put on a helmet or shoulder pads.
“It’s trying to fill that void with other activities, maybe a business or, you know, entrepreneurship or even television, still talking about football and being involved in football – but you’re not taking any punches.”