This Sunday, Tom Brady is set to play his first NFL game since finalizing his divorce from Gisele Bündchen. CBS has the game, with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo on the call.
Nantz joined the latest episode of Jimmy Traina’s Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. During their conversation, the legendary play-by-play announcer discussed his approach to handling Brady’s personal life on-air.
“That story has been hovering throughout the season, I’ve watched the games and haven’t really heard anyone address it,” Nantz said of Brady’s marital issues, which have been reported since August. “I kind of feel like that’s out of bounds. It’s his personal life. Tom’s a friend. I wish him well and his family well. I’m gonna be there to cover a football game, I want to be respectful.”
The podcast was taped before Nantz had any production meetings for the upcoming week with CBS producer Jim Rikhoff and broadcast partner Tony Romo, so the decision to avoid any mention of Brady’s personal life wasn’t necessarily finalized. While Nantz’s inclination is to avoid discussing the quarterback’s private life, he was aware that Brady addressed the divorce during his SiriusXM podcast Let’s Go! with Jim Gray.
“I want to be respectful. People always say, ‘please respect our privacy on this matter.’ Most people don’t, which is sad,” Nantz continued. “I hadn’t even thought about the fact that it’s the first game since they’ve made it official. But again, it’s been hovering out there and I don’t think Tom’s play has been affected by it. That’s just my observation. They’re not losing because of Tom Brady.”
Breaking down Brady’s divorce with a timeline is certainly out of bounds, but mentioning it shouldn’t be. Dealing with the process of ending a 13-year marriage had to be weighing on Brady. And while his play is not the only reason the Bucs have struggled this season, it’s hard not to assume something as life-altering as a divorce hasn’t shifted Brady’s focus off the football field on occasion in recent months.
When Brady’s marital issues were just rumors months and weeks ago, writing about or discussing his personal life could certainly be awkward and uncomfortable. But once those rumors became a reality and Brady addressed the situation on his own podcast, the quarterback made his private life public. No one expects or wants Nantz and Romo to analyze Brady’s personal life in detail during their coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers–Los Angeles Rams game this week, but examining how his personal life may be impacting his football performance should be in bounds.