Remember the scene in Oceanov 11 where Brad Pitt gives advice to Matt Damon before going undercover as a gaming manager to scam Andy Garcia? “Be funny, but don’t make him laugh. He has to like you and then forget you as soon as he comes out of the safe.” That’s what I want from my sports cabins and that’s how I felt about the Kevin Burkhardt–Greg Olsen duo the whole season. They are nothing special, but it is perfect.
Burkhardt and Olsen they know what they are doing. They add just the right amount of energy and at no point do I feel like they’re distracting from the game. It is the right combination of enthusiasm, professionalism, information and entertainment. The only thing missing is the necessary repetitions to relax the audience the sound of their voices.
We eventually got there with Joe Buck and Troy Aikmanand that’s why Fox’s NFL Game of the Week broadcasts have been so weird this season. Still, the network’s big plan for next season seems to be to reset their executive booth and parade Tom Brady from city to city like a new show pony in the hopes that he’s not as bland as Drew Brees or as tall as Tony Romo.
Fox should have waited for Romo to play before giving Brady a payout
I think we can all agree that the last thing is NFL Sunday needs are something else Tony Rabout the situationwhere he shouts doskocicu because he has nothing important to add. CBS might as well slap “Let’s go, Jim!” on T-shirts, and try to recoup some of the $17 million they pay Tony a year to play the hype man.
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And that brings me to Tom Brady. The obsession with Rom has led Fox to believe that viewers want big name QBs in the booth, and there is no bigger name than Brady. However, my problem was even before Romo took the job, there was anecdotal evidence that he was a pretty good guy.
I know Brady is probably the best person ever at spotting coverage and playing calls, but it’s a trick for fun. Like Romo, the novelty has worn off, and unless Brady has a new angle or has been hiding a personality, the only thing that will shine in the booth is his smile.
Tom Brady has never said anything remotely interesting
Brady has spent most of his career saying absolutely nothing with a plan. He learned how to deal with the media through Bill Belichick, and the only regular non-NFL mandated media I remember Brady doing was vanilla radio hits with Jim Gray. He didn’t really let his hair down when he got to Tampa either.
This is not a Shaquille O’Neal or Draymond Green situation. TNT rushed to sign the two because they made headlines with their mouths as much as their acting. Peyton Manning has been nice his entire career, and he’d wreak havoc in the booth if that’s the way he wanted to go.
Just because you speak well doesn’t mean you have personality. Everything about Brady has been so contrived and manipulated over the years that it’s hard to decipher between his thoughts and those of his publicist.
Could a great Super Bowl broadcast change the mind at Fox?
The short answer is no. As I mentioned, Burkhardt and Olsen do a great job of being likeable and then instantly forgettable. Announcers don’t get a ton of signing opportunities at a major sporting event, and unless there’s a transcendent play or moment, Burkhardt’s signature, once the game is decided, will be his only chance.
That being said, I don’t see the Burkhardt-Olsen booth generating enough buzz on social media to outweigh the appeal of Brady or the millions devoted to him. The broadcast won’t be the best broadcast ever because it depends on the game. Killing dead air while blowing is a learned skill, but not particularly fun.
To be honest, people only really notice announcers when they’re shit. They are like judges in that sense. It’s only when the game is over and people realize they didn’t notice that the announcers or referees get credit for a job well done.
And that’s the problem with Brady. He’s the GOAT, fans have preconceived notions about him and no one will ever forget that he’s on the call.