Does It Matter if Tom Brady is Any Good at Broadcasting?

We're mere months away from Tom Brady's broadcasting debut.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

When Tom Brady calls his first NFL game in the top Fox booth it will usher in the merciful end of a will he/won't dance and signal a new, equally trying one in which his announcing prowess is put under the brightest spotlights and most powerful microscopes. The seven-time Super Bowl champion is meticulous in his preparation and although he's never heard him call a game, Colin Cowherd, perhaps privy to some behind-the-scenes information, offered a preview on Tuesday of what he expects Brady to be.

“The traits and the habits that created the quarterback will probably create the same broadcaster. I’ll give you an example, I thought Tony Romo was always underrated as a quarterback,” Cowherd said. “He got a lot of criticism, I thought he was very good, but he was loose. It was often instinct over details and prep.”

“It was gut feeling. Sort of like George Bush as a president. Kind of going with his gut, you wish he would be more into the prep or the details – And I actually like Bush – But I always felt Tony Romo as a player was flashy, really gifted, underrated, really talented, a bit of an ad-libber, feelings over facts. And as a broadcaster I feel the same way. He’s a risk taker, calls out plays, sometimes makes weird sounds. I’m not sure which direction he’s going, but by the end of it, it’s usually wildly entertaining.

And then there’s Tom Brady, who as a player was meticulous and thorough. A people pleaser and detailed. And that’s what I think you’ll get as a broadcaster. Brady will be the opposite of Tony Romo and you can pick your favorite. They’ll both make a lot of money, they’ll both be very good. But they will be opposites as broadcasters.”

There's a lot there, including two presidential terms summed up in a single sentence but Cowherd, as he tends to do, safely landed the plane. And his assessment rings true because if there's one thing Brady is not going to do it's make a bunch of odd, excitable noises and be either distractingly goofy or endearingly quirky.

Romo debuted to tremendous praise before reverting a bit back to the mean in recent seasons — a phenomenon that can largely chalked-up to society's fascination with new things and ability to get bored by them. So Brady, following a similar path, has a high bar to chase in terms of critical pace.

Here's the thing, though. It probably doesn't matter how good he is or is not. Brady has occupied a central place in pop culture for over two decades and virtually every person already has their mind up about him. He's beloved by New England Patriots fans, respected by all, but also reviled by a huge swath who got sick of his winning. He's the Golden Boy and people want to see him fail, perhaps to a greater degree than those who will grade him on an easy curve (see the ManningCast).

Point is, this cake feels like it's already baked and is either delicious or disgusting based on taste before actually taking a bite. In that way it's not dissimilar than a lot of other things right now. At the end of the day, Fox cares if Brady is awesome or not. But that's not the main thing. His appearance at upfronts and getting to put his name on the schedule every week is its own reward. No amount of criticism, warranted or otherwise, is going to change their calculus. And there's an argument that him raising his ceiling and blowing through expectations doesn't move the needle in a meaningful way either.

If this bums you out, there's no need to worry. Brady's work is going to be at the center of the sports media frame for a long time because not everyone is as nihilistic or cynical. Which is probably a good thing.

Kyle K