For the National Football League’s TV partners, the winds of change wafting through their 2023 product are minimal.
Things will get blustery next season. That’s when Tom Brady upends Fox’s No. 1 NFL booth, blowing out incumbent top mouth Greg Olsen, leaving his play-by-play ally Kevin Burkhardt working with the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Will Brady become the answer blowing in the wind? Or will he be a colossal flop, something the quarterback, and the organizations he’s worked for, have not experienced?
The intrigue has already set in. With Brady, apparently locked into retirement and out of the league for the first time this season (he does own a piece of the L.A. Raiders), the anticipation and mystery surrounding his 2024 debut in Fox’s booth will only grow.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. There is a segment of fans who will miss Sundays without Brady and look forward to his TV “comeback.” On the flip side, will be other concerned citizens who enjoy Olsen’s work (he went full time with Burkhardt in 2021) and think he should keep his gig.
That won’t happen. Brady has already agreed to a 10-year contract worth $37.5 million per year. The Foxies are not shelling out that kind of dough — the most Fox has ever paid any sports star turned NFL TV voice — to make Brady its No. 2 analyst, place him in a three-person booth with Burkhardt and Olsen, or stick him on one or more of Fox’s NFL studio shows.
The entire Fox-Brady saga has been unprecedented. Brady will go into the job with no experience as a TV football analyst. Nonetheless, Fox offered Brady a futures contract while he was still playing. Brady agreed to the offer.
And when he left the game following the 2022 season, Brady told the Foxies before he could go to work for them, he still needed another year to get his life in order and adjust to his world without football.
Is this Brady’s way of clearing his head? Or is he looking to stall, bail on the Fox gig, and find something else to do? Brady’s staggering Fox contract would make it hard for him to turn back now.
So, as the countdown to the start of the 2023 season winds down, Fox suits can only hope Brady’s own anticipation to enter the booth next season is growing. And that he will take the opportunity of having this season off to put some effort into his new craft. That he will work a few practice games trying to find a groove.
For in 2024, no matter how he prepared, there will be a tornado of buzz surrounding Brady’s “comeback.” Only he can prevent it from being a bumpy ride.
Ron Darling didn’t believe it was worth the five bucks Peacock was charging to watch last Sunday’s Angels-Mets tilt.
He let the Free World know of his decision during Monday’s Rangers-Mets game on Ch. 11. “I looked at my family and what they own already,” Darling said on the air. “It was a protest, I said I’m not getting another one. I’m not spending another five dollars.”
Imagine how Darling, and the vast majority who don’t follow every machination of the streaming industry, will react when they look for the Saturday night Jan 13, 2024 Wild Card weekend playoff game, which will be shown exclusively on the Peacock streaming service.
While it’s not known what Peacock will charge, Darling should know Peacock agreed to pay $110 million to the NFL for the right to stream this ONE playoff game, which will likely cost more than $5 for you, the fan, to buy.
NEW HOME FOR ‘INSIDE THE NFL’
The familiar tag line for the iconic “Inside the NFL” was: “The Show the Pros Watch.” It should now be changed to, “The Show That Won’t Die.”
On Tuesday evening, “Inside the NFL” enters its 47th consecutive season in a new home, the CW Network. The show, produced by NFL Films, made its bones and had its longest run (31 years) on HBO, first piloted by the late Len Dawson and the late Nick Buoniconti.
It shifted to Showtime and then Paramount+ streaming service. The move to CW marks the shows first run on broadcast TV. It features former players, most in the early stages of their media careers. Ryan Clark, a regular panelist on ESPN, will host “ITNFL.”
Clark will be joined by former Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder, quirky wideout Chad Johnson, controversial quarterback Jay Cutler and two-time Super Bowl champion Chris Long.