Reading various reports and confirmations these past few months about Amazon’s approach to their impending Thursday Night Football coverage has made it hard to track just what exactly Amazon’s plan is for everyone they’ve brought on board.
Yes, the booth will be Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit, with Charissa Thompson hosting the studio desk alongside Richard Sherman, Tony Gonzalez, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. But recently Amazon tabbed Aqib Talib and Andrew Whitworth for roles as well, and now there’s a report from Front Office Sports that Drew Brees is also in play for a possible role.
Via Michael McCarthy at FOS, Amazon is considering Brees for a possible alternate broadcast featuring former quarterbacks, which, uh, isn’t exactly an original idea.
The alternate “QBs Only” telecast would run for 4-6 weeks in support of Amazon’s main TNF stream with Kirk Herbstreit and Al Michaels.
However, nothing is finalized, said sources. The “QBs Only” is one of “multiple ideas” on the drawing board at Amazon, said sources. There could be as many as three TNF Megcasts running 4-6 games during the 2022 season, said sources.
With the NFL season approaching (less than two months from Week 1!) you’d think Amazon would have things a bit more finalized right now, but here we are. And according to McCarthy, there’s one other name they’re considering as a priority: Pat McAfee.
Much of Amazon’s MegaCast planning hinges around Pat McAfee.
Front Office Sports previously reported Amazon wants the former Indianapolis Colts punter to headline his own alternate telecast.
With his contacts throughout sports and entertainment, Amazon views McAfee as the kind of talent who can attract top-notch guests ala ESPN2’s “ManningCast” with Peyton and Eli Manning.
Interestingly, WWE recently announced an extension for McAfee, which is the sort of timing that looks a bit different when you hear that another big company was chasing his services. Also interestingly, when a company like Amazon is clearly casting a wide net, that’s a great time for media talent agents to use the possibility of an Amazon offer to get their clients new deals or offers in other places, too.
As far as the possible alternate broadcast idea with Brees as a part of it: sure, why not? It won’t be the ManningCast because it won’t have the Manning brothers. But Amazon has more money than they could possibly ever spend on anything, and they also have a very clear interest in attempting to turn Thursday Night Football into event programming.
Brees, alone, obviously won’t do that. (If he was capable, he’d still be at NBC.) But building out other alternate options with bigger names is smart, especially given the flexibility that streaming provides. All the possible viewing options will be available to everyone logging on or using a device to watch.
For Brees, if he wants to actually build a career in broadcasting (and after his NBC experience, we can’t rule out the idea that he doesn’t), this would make for a soft landing. Shorter schedule, more relaxed environment, no need to carry an entire broadcast on the strength of his own analysis.
So, sure, if Amazon decides to go this route, Brees would make for a solid addition to their rotating and, apparently, ever-growing cast of characters.