Tuesday morning, Fox announced Brady would join the network as their lead NFL analyst when the 44-year-old quarterback finally decides to retire. Shortly after the announcement, Stephen A. Smith was asked about the acquisition on ESPN’s First Take, and he dismissed the topic almost as quickly as it was introduced.
“Forgive me if I don’t care that much,” Smith said. “I’m interested in seeing him play this year, trying to win another Super Bowl. Call me when he’s in the booth.”
With that, First Take attempted to pivot to the NBA, but ESPN analyst and former NFL defensive end Marcus Spears called Smith’s opinion biased, wanting more from him on the Brady topic.
Stephen A. Smith doesn't give a damn about Tom Brady going to Fox pic.twitter.com/5vWhaa1psB
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) May 10, 2022
“Do we really give a damn right now, what he’s going to do after the season?” Smith asked. “If he was retired and he was in the booth, that would be different. With him about to play, do you really care?”
“I don’t give a damn until he’s actually doing it,” Smith continued. “When he’s doing it, I’m watching, I want to see. Is he going to be as good as Tony Romo? But until then, he’s got a season to play in Tampa Bay, I’ll see you when you get there.”
Smith’s tune likely would have been different if it was ESPN who announced they hired Brady to stash him away until he retires from playing. Fox Sports talent, led by Skip Bayless, lauded the hire after it was announced by their bosses Tuesday morning. “Congrats to Tom and us,” an elated Bayless said on Undisputed.
That would almost certainly have been Smith on First Take if ESPN acquired Brady. And let’s not forget, ESPN played a role in Fox opening their checkbook for Brady when the Monday Night Football booth signed Troy Aikman and poached Joe Buck with megadeals.
Smith might not give a damn about Brady going to ESPN’s competitor, but the news is big, which is why the topic was even headlined on First Take. It’s historically big in monetary value, with Fox reportedly paying Brady upwards of $375 million over 10 years to join the company. And it’s big in terms of knowing the legendary quarterback, who many expected to focus on being a business mogul when he retires, will remain a prominent NFL figure for years to come.