As one of the more successful player-turned-analysts in sports media history, Troy Aikman knows all about the path Tom Brady is about to embark on.
Aikman went directly from the field to the booth when he joined Fox and Joe Buck in 2001. Fox named him to the network’s lead announcing crew after just one season. Fast forward more than two decades, and Aikman and Buck continue to be an elite broadcast team at ESPN. Meanwhile, Brady is slated to be the analyst’s long-term heir at Fox. Aikman recently joined the Green Light with Chris Long podcast to offer an opinion of Brady’s outlook as a broadcaster.
Looking forward to seeing @TomBrady‘s transition to the booth.@JOEL9ONE | @TroyAikman pic.twitter.com/uiVfgcV7Xp
— Green Light with Chris Long (@greenlight) February 3, 2023
“I think he’ll be great, obviously Fox does as well,” Aikman told Long. “There are people that you just bet on. And he’s one of those guys. I mean, he’s succeeded at everything that he’s done. He’ll continue to put in the work just like he did as an athlete. And I think that he’s wired that way. So he’ll do everything that’s required to give himself a chance to have success.”
Brady signed a 10-year $375 million contract with Fox last May to be their lead NFL analyst. It was a deal that was scheduled to kick in after he retires from playing. Last week, Brady retired from playing after 23 seasons. That move ramped up speculation about when he might get started with Fox, but Monday afternoon, the former NFL quarterback announced his plans to take one year off before transitioning into the booth.
According to Brady, he plans on using the year off to prepare for his fall 2024 debut for Fox. Brady cited a desire to be great in his second career. Since the deal with Fox was announced, skeptics have justly questioned Brady’s ability to be critical or interesting considering he spent the last two decades trying to avoid saying anything headline worthy when speaking into a mic. Aikman, however, doesn’t seem to share that concern.
“I think that for him, he has some real opinions,” Aikman said. “He hasn’t always voiced all of those, of course. Now he’ll have a platform to where it will be expected and I think he’ll deliver…there are some that wonder whether or not he’ll actually do it,.I don’t know about that, but I suspect that he will. My conversations with him, it indicates that that’s what he’s planning to do.”
“My only advice is just be you,” Aikman continued. “Be authentic, be honest, speak your mind. He will find his niche. He will do that respectfully and I think he will add a lot to the broadcast.”
The longer Brady waits to officially join Fox, the more his skeptics will question whether or not he wants it. Brady seems to believe taking a year off will help him find his voice as a broadcaster. But that year off also gives his seat-filler, Greg Olsen, the opportunity to continue proving he deserves to keep the lead NFL analyst chair at Fox.