Drew Brees spent 20 seasons in the NFL, cementing himself as one of the all-time great quarterbacks and proving himself very capable in the playoffs, winning Super Bowl XLIV with the New Orleans Saints.
As an NBC broadcaster, it was one extremely bad playoff performance that might have done him in.
Per Marchand, the decision “seemed mutual” as Brees wanted to call games rather than be studio-bound while NBC “soured” on him as an heir apparent to Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth.
Brees’ short tenure will be remembered for a disastrous turn during NBC’s broadcast of the Las Vegas Raiders–Cincinnati Bengals playoff game. Brees got crushed by media critics and viewers alike, who called him “beyond vanilla,” “corporate,” “not ready for the playoff stage,” and sounding as though he had “nothing to say.”
NBC just now discussing ten minutes later. Brees says that he had heard the whistle which is weird as it went unaddressed until now. Booth in agreement play should have been replayed for an inadvertent whistle.
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) January 15, 2022
Given all the hype that followed Brees into the booth and the inevitable comparisons to Tony Romo, expectations were sky-high for the former Saints quarterback to jump in and immediately have full command of the job. He did not.
Still, that doesn’t mean that Brees’ days in the booth are over. Just last month, Marchand reported that he was “in the mix” for an analyst role at Fox given all the shuffling over there. At the time Brees’ employment situation was seen as a hurdle, but it appears that it is no longer an issue. Fox also has a lot of college football games that could provide Brees with a chance to build up his broadcasting chops under less pressure.
Marchand also notes that “Amazon could also maybe be a possible landing spot for Brees.” While they’re set on their Thursday Night Football booth with Kirk Herbstreit, it’s presumed that the streamer will continue to expand their offerings with more NFL games down the road.
For NBC, this seems like a smart move. Brees isn’t worth the hassle at the moment, especially if he’s going to be unhappy in his role. There are plenty of solid candidates out there to replace him within the studio while also attempting to find Collinsworth’s heir apparent once more.
More interesting is what they decide to do with the Notre Dame analyst role. They could look in-house for a replacement in the booth. Perhaps they look to the USFL where Jason Garrett has been putting in solid work. Or maybe this is the time to make that call to Mike Golic, who has spoken openly about how much he’d love to call Irish games.