Greg Olsen Joe Davis An AA illustration of Joe Davis and Greg Olsen, Fox’s new No. 2 broadcast team.

On the long laundry list of stories that have emerged from the National Football League over the past few years, one highlight has been the emergence of Greg Olsen. A former NFL tight end who gained fame at the University of Miami-Florida, Olsen joined the NFL on Fox after the 2021 season.

Olsen was a good guy during his NFL career. Whether anyone expected him to showcase broadcast prowess is another deal entirely, but Olsen proved his worth from the word “go.” He quickly ascended up the ladder of favor among NFL fans and at his job. In 2023, we named him the best color analyst in all of sports. You get where we’re going with this.

This week, Fox announced that Tom Brady would finally join the network. Given that Fox is footing a hefty bill for the former seven-time Super Bowl champion, it makes sense that they have a prominent spot for him. He’ll join Kevin Burkhardt for Fox’s top games of the week this season, starting with a Week 1 tilt between the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys.

Fox’s decision to sign Brady at the time raised some eyebrows. While some pundits pondered if the former NFL great would ever reach the booth, the Olsen factor was almost impossible to ignore. Workplace politics are an entire genre within themselves, and even while Olsen showed his strengths week after week, you got the sense things would eventually come to a head. There was even a wonder if Olsen would go elsewhere, but that was ultimately buttoned up.

A report emerged later this week that Olsen will now work for the No. 2 broadcast crew. He and Joe Davis, whom Fox clearly likes a lot, will call games together this season in a similar role to CBS’ Ian Eagle’s with the NFL.

It was tough to see what happened to Olsen, though. That thought wasn’t held exclusively by fans of his work either. Still, in a world where sometimes it’s hard to find something to be optimistic, let’s ask the question:

What if Davis and Olsen become everyone’s favorite broadcast booth?

Davis has a pretty strong reputation as a broadcaster. Criticism of Davis’ work rarely gets loud compared to his peers and predecessors at the network. Fox hired Davis nearly a decade ago, and at that time, he worked in NFL games, college basketball, and football. He is Fox’s lead baseball commentator. That’s all to say: It’s evident that Fox supports and endorses Davis. And this, alongside his work with the Los Angeles Dodgers, shows he’s often readied, prepared, and rarely calls a bad game.

Olsen will arguably be Davis’ best broadcast colleague since he joined NFL on Fox coverage. Olsen’s A-grade work may help elevate Davis’ work and status, which could help influence public opinion about him. He had to follow Joe Buck, an unenviable task on any planet, on Fox’s MLB coverage. Between his MLB on Fox job, working for the Dodgers, and working with John Smoltz, it may be tough sledding with a crowd still getting used to him. However, with his new colleague for the NFL, Olsen’s likability may trickle over to Davis, who may see a popularity boost of his own.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, as they say.

The one factor that could cause this to bellow up is the support Olsen will receive. If Travis Kelce thinks that Olsen got done dirty by Fox, then that thought surely is held by other people as well. People may be very inclined to talk up anything and everything Olsen does. Maybe not quite 2018 Tony Romo levels of support, but certainly, you can envision a lot of support for him. Indeed, if Brady misses the mark as an analyst, there might be other genres of that support, some aiming at Olsen’s employer.

Plus, let’s face it: It’s Tom Brady. Tom Brady is who he is in 2024. It hasn’t changed much over the years. You either love him or you hate him. Most of that love is concentrated in the Greater New England Area. We have no idea how Brady will be received as a broadcaster. But human behavior is a mother sometimes. The instinct for many, probably since the height of their dynasty days, has been to hate. And people do hate Brady. That process hasn’t been unlearned, even after he retired from the NFL. This situation probably hasn’t helped matters either; it is the other thing.

That being said, let’s be realistic about two things: Fans, by and large, don’t make their viewing decisions entirely based on who broadcasts games. Joe Buck was the subject of criticism for mundaneness, etc., for two decades, and his games and standing on the network were rarely challenged. And two, even if this does happen financially, there’s gulfs of difference here.

And symbolically, it could be cool, but there are reasons for the resentment. Olsen might be a millionaire, but he’s also earned more money arguably for his work. It’s a shame that this happened how it did, and the other fact is no network needs a lead color guy. CBS is locked in with Romo; ESPN has Aikman, who can probably decide to retire when he wants to, having done this for two decades now; Amazon has Kirk Herbstreit, who, unless his workload in college football suddenly takes a heavy uptick, won’t slack off that job either, and Cris Collinsworth isn’t leaving NBC anytime soon, we reckon.

But it might at least have an opinion in the arena of subjectivity. And to some effect, there’s a venerable status worth achieving there. Many fawn over Eagle, Kevin Harlan, and Gus Johnson for their styles and how they call a game. Olsen doesn’t quite have the tenure yet to gain that kind of longstanding reverence those three commentators have, but there may be a dragon worth chasing there.

Davis and Olsen are both hard-working professionals at this point in both of their careers. They’ve been paired amid some unusual circumstances in Olsen’s corner and fascinating workplace politics. But some good can come out of this, especially if these two prove their worth together. Their reputations precede them; in this case, they’re awfully close to sterling.

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022