Perry: Simply put, Brady won't allow himself to be bad at broadcasting originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Let's kick off Tom Brady's broadcasting life with a hot take before he ever has a chance to spit one out of his own: He's going to be a tremendous color analyst.
OK, fine. That might not be a blazer. After all, his new employers at FOX Sports signed him to a contract worth $37.5 million per year over 10 years. Bosses must be assuming he'll be pretty damn good.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
But after more than 20 years of milquetoast at the podium, after openly admitting that 90% of what he says publicly isn't what he actually believes, there's a large section of the population that believes Brady's next act will flop.
When will Brady start TV? FOX Sports unaware of retirement possibility
If that's where you reside on the topic, I get it. He might be too nice. Those close to Brady have discussed how he loathes confrontation. Being able to lob criticism, a prerequisite for his upcoming gig, doesn't seem like it will come easy to him. So you're not crazy to feel the way you do. In fact, I was once like you.
But the more I think about it, the less I want to be lumped in with the camp that's doubting Thomas. When he takes this job, there's a path to him being effective right off the bat.
Here's all he needs to do: 1) Allow viewers a tiny little window into understanding the vast amounts of information he's able to consume over four quarters of football; 2) Try.
If he can do those two things consistently, you'll live with any rough edges that come along with early-broadcasting-years Brady. His overwhelming knowledge of the league, its coaches and players, and the concepts that drive it is so inimitable that it may be worth the more than quarter-billion dollars he's being paid all on its own. Sprinkle in some effort, which at times seems to elude other former players in the same role, and that will be enough. You watch.
Brady doesn't need to be all that smooth. He doesn't need to dazzle his partner Kevin Burkhardt or anyone else with charm.
Info and effort. That's it. Really.
Perry: Brady's retirement leaves many teams thinking 'what if?'
If for some reason those two elements are lacking in Brady's game, I can't anticipate him allowing that to continue. This won't feel like competing for championships, of course, but based on what we know of him, it's hard to envision him not taking a great deal of pride in work that will be consumed by millions of viewers on a regular basis.
If he sucks, he'll hear it. And my guess is he'll care. And my guess is he'll be motivated by the chatter to be better.
It may not sound great out of the gates, whenever that is. He may have to do some rewiring of the football supercomputer between his ears to get it to produce for an audience made up of regular Joes as opposed to the Jimmys and Joes with whom he shared a locker room for 24 years. That could take some time.
But his old coach Bill Belichick is fond of asking scouts to tell him what players can do, not what they can't as he tries to assess whether or not they're worthy of his investment. We know Brady can glean insight from football games that few ever could. We know that he's a competitor, that he's in possession of a maniacal work ethic, that he'll take any slight and use it to fuel his next performance.
That's a helluva prospect. Go ahead and doubt him. I get it. But be careful. You just might drive him to reach a level you're now certain he can't.