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Tom Brady: ‘I’m Trying to Make Sure I Have the Right Tone’ as a Broadcaster

On Wednesday night, seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady was honored by the New England Patriots with an induction ceremony at Gillette Stadium to celebrate being nominated into the team’s Hall of Fame. Patriots owner Robert Kraft surprised Brady by revealing that the team had also retired his No. 12 and thanked him for his contributions to the organizations over his 20 seasons with the organization. Brady will be joining the lead commentary booth for the NFL on FOX next season, commencing his work as an analyst alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi.

Brady recently joined the SI Media with Jimmy Traina podcast and discussed his approach to joining the FOX Sports broadcasting team this fall for NFL games. Before he retired from the NFL, Brady signed what was reported to be a 10-year, $375 million deal to call NFL games in the network’s lead broadcasting booth. FOX Sports is entering the second year of its new 11-year media rights agreement with the NFL, which will culminate in Super Bowl LIX on FOX from the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, La.

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“I love having a microphone that’s going to reach 30 million people on Sundays a week, [and] I love being a part of the best broadcast in sports,” Brady said, “so I think for me it was a no-brainer, and if you want to have an impact on people and you want to [have] impact on a sport you love, then you’ve got to work toward that.”

Although Brady retired from the NFL after the 2022 season, he did not immediately join the lead broadcast team on FOX Sports. Instead, he decided to wait a year before beginning his role, a decision that allowed him more time to prepare and become familiar with the broadcasting craft.

“For me, it was the only way to do it,” Brady explained. “I realized that to come off a playing season and then to jump right into that, it’s a whole [other] discipline to learn, and I really wanted to take some time to watch, listen, learn, talk to people – people who I really see as the greatest at what they’ve done – and everyone really opened their arms to embrace me and phone calls, and there’s still more I’m going to make before the start of the season, and I’m just very grateful for all the people that kind of shared a lot of incredible nuggets [and] ways to succeed that I’ll be able to involve myself in as I go forward.”

Brady believes that deciphering the game within his analysis will be a straightforward process since it is similar to what he did as a quarterback on a daily basis. Additionally, he anticipates enjoying the preparation and learning more about the teams ahead of the broadcast. A part of his approach he foresees being important, however, is in continuing to make the game fun for consumers so they can enjoy the viewing experience as a whole.

“Sometimes I get a little too serious because I see myself as ‘quarterback Tom Brady’ as opposed to ‘Let’s enjoy a great game of football Tom Brady,’” Brady articulated. “Sometimes I become a little too critical, so I’m trying to make sure I have the right tone.”

Traina found Brady’s answer about being too critical at times and having a specific way in which he believes the game to be played as rather interesting. One of the common critiques Traina has towards broadcast analysts with the exception of Troy Aikman on ESPN is that they are sometimes afraid to criticize players and referees. Although announcers do not need to call a decision dumb, there are moments he has perceived things to be glossed over. Brady wants to impart his wisdom throughout the broadcast with his many years playing in the NFL and help other people achieve their goals.

“I think there’s a high expectation of how I expect the game to be played because I was there and I saw Coach Belichick and I saw Hall of Famers and I played with them and played against them and I played in big games, and there’s just a certain expectation that I see for really great performers, and I want to see these guys perform really well,” Brady said. “But part of the contribution to make is, ‘How do I help other people be successful as well?’”

Brady understands that there will be opinions about his broadcasting abilities from the consumption audience from the moment he starts on the air. Yet over his 28 years playing college and professional sports, he has developed a thick skin and has heard plenty of plaudits and disapproval towards other broadcast analysts. Brady is ultimately going to focus on evaluating his effort, preparation, intention and if he gave his best to his colleagues at FOX Sports and the audience.

“You may not like it – I understand, it’s okay – but I’m just giving you my commentating, my analysis, so it’s really, in the end, kind of like I played quarterback was about satisfying me,” Brady said. “I could have had a bad outcome, but if I thought the process was good, ‘Alright, let me just work on the process to get the outcome I want.’ If the outcome was great, it was, ‘What did I do right that enabled me to be prepared and be successful in the moment?’”

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