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Tom Brady to go through 'growing pains' when turned analyst

Brady's announcer style depends on whether he is capable of changing his public persona when it comes to talking about other players, coachesgetty images

Tom Brady “has every quality -- name, looks, resume -- to break salary record and even overshadow the games he’s covering” but, if history is a guide, he "will go through some growing pains,” according to Sam Farmer of the L.A. TIMES. Chances are, he is "not going to be overly nervous in front of a camera.” Some in the business were “somewhat surprised,” by the news that he is "already heading in this direction.” Former NFL QB Rich Gannon said, “Never in a million years did I think he’d be going this way. … I never got the sense Tom was even interested in that. I never got the sense he would be interested in getting into coaching or the front office.” Going from "being an elite quarterback to someone learning a new career” while under the microscope “can be quite daunting." NFL HOFer and NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner said, “You have to fight that battle just like anybody else does that goes from one job to another. You have to build your confidence up and figure out who you want to be.” He also said that it can be “particularly difficult" not to "stomp on the toes of your onetime colleagues, to offer opinions that can bruise feelings around the league." NFL HOFer Steve Young said that he had to “shift his thinking” when he got into TV -- just as Brady will -- and that is "not always easy to do.” Young: “The communication and who he's speaking to has to change. It’s no longer a way of gathering his teammates, which has been a huge part of his success. Now you’re on TV and you don’t have that same paradigm” (L.A. TIMES, 5/12).

PERSON TO EMULATE: In Boston, Bill Speros wrote what sort of announcer Brady can be “depends on whether he is capable of changing his public persona” when it comes to talking about other players and coaches. Brady "should emulate” HOFer turned announcer Dennis Eckersley. Eckersley “throws heat” from the NESN booth during Red Sox games. He is “relentless and speaks without fear or favor while eviscerating the woeful Red Sox.” Can Brady offer millions of viewers “a slice of what he’s really thinking?” Or will every bit of analysis simply be "‘fill-in-the-blank’ is doing his best?” (BOSTON HERALD, 5/12).

NO GUARANTEE: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi writes it is "great you’re offering Brady a 10-year deal and paying him all this money” but asks what happens if he is "not good as a TV analyst." Remembering former NFL QB Joe Montana, who lasted just nine games at NBC before the two entities decided to “pull the plug on the experiment." Montana "obviously knew the game," but his takes were “more boring than waiting for your iPhone to re-charge.” Bianchi personally thinks Brady “will be just fine” as a Fox analyst, but it is “not a guarantee -- and certainly not a $375 million guarantee” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 5/12).

LOVIN' IT: In Boston, Mike Cole wrote Brady “does appear to crave the spotlight.” Brady “loves attention.” There is nothing “inherently wrong with that either." But after keeping largely to himself for the first half of his career, the Brady corporation “has put on a marketing blitz in the second half." It has made him an “ungodly amount of money,” and that is before considering how much Fox will give him “to talk about football every Sunday.” It ensures he will “never actually leave the football public eye.” Even if he is not “showing off his skills on the field," his "smiling face on TV every week will be a constant reminder he might have found the magical elixir to fight off the aging process” (NESN.com, 5/10).

BAFFLING TREND: In Toronto, Scott Stinson writes the economics behind why networks pay their NFL analysts “so much money” is “truly baffling.” It is a trend that began “a couple of years ago,” when CBS gave former QB Tony Romo more than $17M per year to be the “extremely excitable foil to Jim Nantz.” More fundamentally, the question was whether Romo "affected CBS’ NFL ratings at all." And the answer is: “almost certainly not.” People are going to watch the NFL in massive numbers because that is “what they do,” regardless of which former player is in the booth “offering bon mots.” Stinson: “When he eventually does retire, will anyone turn into Fox’s late Sunday afternoon marquee game because they want to hear Brady’s insights? No they will watch the game, or game that involve the teams they most like, or on which they have gambled the most money, or which involve players on their fantasy teams” (NATIONAL POST, 5/12).

MOST IMPORTANT MAN ON TV? In N.Y., Jason Gay writes announcers “don’t really move the ratings needle” with football audiences -- it is about matchups, and if "you have the Cowboys playing the Packers in late afternoon, you could put two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in headsets and achieve the highest Nielsen of the week.” No one "knows this more than the people who program sports television," but they "see value in the halo -- a big name lifts colleagues, advertisers, Wall Street, and entrances the media.” Most importantly, it "pleases the NFL," which "holds the golden goose and decides what networks will enjoy the pleasure of paying billions for an egg.” It is a “strange era for sports TV." Football is not a “mere launchpad” to promote other programming -- it is “the most essential product the networks have, critical to their survival.” If you think about it, this makes Brady, the "most important man on television," before he has even "started working on television” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/12).

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