Tom Brady is undoubtedly the greatest quarterback to ever live, but could he soon become one of the greatest sports commentators of his generation? While he has yet to end his playing career, despite a 40-day retirement this offseason, Brady already has post-retirement plans.
On May 10th, Tom Brady and FOX Sports announced a 10-year, $375 million contract to be the network’s lead football analyst. Since he’s still under contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the contract won’t start until Brady officially retires from the league – whenever that might be.
In the announcement, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch noted, “Over the course of this long-term agreement, Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt, but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives.”
Famous Athletes Who Became Sports Commentators
Let’s take a quick second to put Tom Brady’s future contract in perspective. Over the past 22 seasons, Brady has earned just shy of $300 million with the Patriots and Buccaneers. When he finally decides to hang ‘em up, he’ll make another $375 million with FOX over the next 10 years.
Not only that, but it’s the richest and largest contract in sportscasting history – which is quite incredible when you see some of the big names in the broadcast booth and studio. When you consider the amount of credibility, the reputation, and the knowledge Brady has, it makes sense.
While Brady is the latest to join the ranks, he’s not the first athlete to enter the booth after they retire. There are a variety of former athletes that now call themselves sports commentators – whether it be an analyst in the studio, on-field reporter, or play-by-play announcer in the booth.
20. Drew Brees
Drew Brees is a retired quarterback that spent 20 seasons in the NFL – 15 with the New Orleans Saints and five with the San Diego Chargers. He threw for 80,358 yards and 571 touchdowns, finishing his career with a 172-114 record, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP.
When he retired after the 2020 season, he immediately signed a one-year contract with NBC Sports to provide commentary for Notre Dame football games and Football Night in America (Sunday Night Football). He’s no longer with the network and is now weighing his options.
19. Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins is a retired center that spent 14 seasons in the NBA – mostly with the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder. He won the 2008 NBA Finals with the Celtics and averaged 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 21.9 minutes per game (782 games).
Since retiring, Perkins has been a mainstay on ESPN, providing commentary on a number of their top shows – including NBA Today, Get Up, First Take, and SportsCenter. He also works for NBC Sports Boston and is known to provide frequent hot takes – which makes for good TV.
18. JJ Redick
JJ Redick is a retired shooting guard that spent 15 seasons in the NBA – mostly with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers. He played 940 games and averaged 12.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 0.4 steals in 25.5 minutes per game – he loved to shoot threes.
During his playing days, Redick was the first active NBA player to start a podcast – which he did in 2016. He’s known for providing great wisdom and maintaining the integrity of the game with his relatable takes. He’s frequently seen with Perkins as an NBA analyst for ESPN.
17. Jalen Rose
Jalen Rose is a retired small forward that spent 13 seasons in the NBA with six different teams. He was a member of Michigan’s Fab Five, was the Most Improved Player of the Year in 2000, and averaged 14.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 0.8 steals in 923 career games played.
Rose first began his broadcasting career in 2006 when he was a sideline reporter during the NBA playoffs – he was still an active player. Since retiring from the game, he has worked for ABC and ESPN as a commentator and analyst. He currently has his own show on ESPN.
16. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller is a retired shooting guard that spent 18 seasons in the NBA – all with the Indiana Pacers. He’s one of the greatest shooters of all-time, is a five-time All-Star, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012. He averaged 18.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Since retiring from basketball, he has been one of the main analysts and color commentators for TNT – not only calling games on the sideline, but also providing commentary in the pre-game and post-game festivities. He also contributes to a number of sports television and radio shows.
15. Greg Anthony
Greg Anthony is a retired point guard that spent 11 seasons in the NBA with six teams. He helped lead the UNLV Rebels to a National Championship before being drafted in the first round by the Knicks. He had his best season in 1995, when he averaged 14.0 points per game.
Since retiring from the game in 2002, Anthony has become one of the best play-by-play announcers in the NBA. He has had roles with ESPN, ABC, YES (Brooklyn Nets), and CBS Sports (college basketball). He’s also the play-by-play announcer for the NBA 2K video games.
14. Cris Collinsworth
Cris Collinsworth is a retired wide receiver that spent eight seasons in the NFL – all with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was a three-time Pro Bowl player that had 417 receptions for 6,698 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career. He surpassed 1,000 yards on four occasions.
Collinsworth has turned in quite the illustrious sportscasting career since retiring. He has won 17 Sports Emmy Awards and has worked for NBC, NFL Network, and Showtime. He’s a regular announcer for Sunday Night Football and has done play-by-play for five Super Bowls.
13. Chiney Ogwumike
Chiney Ogwumike is an active forward that’s currently playing in her sixth season in the WNBA – her first three with the Connecticut Sun and her last three with the Los Angeles Sparks. She has averaged 12.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.0 steal, and 0.8 blocks per game.
Not only is she an active player, but she was voted as Vice President of the WNBA Players Association and is a full-time basketball analyst for ESPN – three jobs all at the same time. She’s often seen commentating on NBA coverage and is a regular on ESPN’s NBA Today.
12. Candace Parker
Candace Parker is an active forward-center that’s currently playing in her 15th season in the WNBA – 13 with the Los Angeles Sparks and two with the Chicago Sky. She’s a two-time MVP, two-time champion, and six-time All-Star that’s regarded as one of the greatest of all-time.
Much like Ogwumike, Parker often works double-duty as a player and analyst. She signed a multi-year contract with Turner Sports and is a regular on NBA on TNT. She also makes appearances on NBA TV and provides commentary for the NCAA Men’s March Madness.
11. David Ortiz
David Ortiz, also known as Big Papi, is a retired designated hitter that spent 20 seasons in the MLB – six with the Minnesota Twins and 14 with the Boston Red Sox. He’s a Hall of Famer, 10-time All-Star, and three-time World Series champion that hit 541 career home runs.
Since retiring from the game in 2016, Ortiz has started to transition into an analyst role – mostly with FOX Sports. In fact, he first made his sportscasting debut in 2014 as an active player. He’s becoming a mainstay for their regular season, All-Star game, and postseason MLB coverage.
10. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez is a retired third baseman that spent 22 seasons in the MLB – mostly with the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners. He’s a 14-time All-Star, three-time MVP, one-time champion, and three-time Major League Player of the Year that hit 696 career home runs.
Since retiring, Rodriguez has made several business ventures and has entered the world of sportscasting. He’s a regular on Fox Sports 1, ABC News, and ESPN – including Sunday Night Baseball coverage. He also hosts a show called Back in the Game and appears on Shark Tank.
9. Nate Burleson
Nate Burleson is a retired wide receiver that spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Lions, Vikings, and Seahawks. He had his best season in 2004 with 68 catches, 1,006 yards, and nine touchdowns. He finished his career with 457 catches for 5,630 yards and 39 touchdowns.
In 2012, a few years before retiring, Burleson attended a boot camp for broadcasting hosted by the NFL. After retiring, he joined the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football and the NFL on CBS as an analyst. He recently left GMF and joined Paramount, where he has several roles on TV.
8. Terry Bradshaw
Terry Bradshaw is a retired quarterback that spent 14 seasons in the NFL – all of which with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the No. 1 draft pick in 1970 and won four Super Bowls, two Super Bowl MVPs, one AP MVP, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
Immediately after retiring, Bradshaw signed on with CBS as a football analyst. Since then, he has won three Sports Emmy Awards. After a decade with CBS, he joined the Fox NFL Sunday crew and has earned a reputation as the ‘ol’ redneck’ that isn’t afraid to speak his open mind.
7. Boomer Esiason
Boomer Esiason is a retired quarterback that spent 14 seasons in the NFL – mostly with the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets. He was selected to four Pro Bowls, won the MVP award in 1988, and threw for 37,920 yards, 247 touchdowns, and 184 interceptions in his career.
Esiason began his broadcasting career while he was still playing, appearing as a color analyst for the WLAF. He has broadcast a total of 19 Super Bowls on the radio – from 2000 to 2018. He’s now a mainstay analyst on The NFL Today on CBS and Inside the NFL on Showtime.
6. Kenny Smith
Kenny Smith is a retired point guard that spent 10 years in the NBA – mostly with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings. He was a two-time champion and a member of the All-Rookie team in 1988. He finished his career with 12.8 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.
After retiring from the game in 1997, Smith immediately joined Turner Sports’ Inside the NBA – widely regarded as one of the most ground-breaking sports studio shows of all-time. In addition to Inside the NBA, Smith also works as an analyst for March Madness on Turner and CBS.
5. Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley is a retired power forward that spent 16 seasons in the NBA with the 76ers, Rockets, and Suns. He was an 11-time All-Star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He ended his career averaging 22.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
In 2000, the same year he retired from the NBA, Barkley joined Turner Network Television as an analyst – joining Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith in the Inside the NBA studio. He’s one of the funniest, most outlandish and outspoken sports personalities on TV today, which we love.
4. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is a retired center that spent 19 seasons in the NBA – mostly with the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic. He’s a four-time champion, two-time scoring champ, one-time MVP, three-time Finals MVP, and won the Rookie of the Year award in 1993.
Since retiring, O’Neal has done it all – reality television, disc jockey, mixed martial arts, WWE, investments, music, acting, etc. In 2011, he announced his decision to join Ernie, Kenny, and Charles in the Inside the NBA studio. The four have an incredible chemistry with one another.
3. Michael Strahan
Michael Strahan is a retired defensive end that spent 15 seasons in the NFL – all of which with the New York Giants. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl player, one-time Super Bowl champ, 2001 Defensive Player of the Year, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Since retiring, Strahan has become one of the biggest media personalities in the country. Not only does he appear on Fox NFL Sunday with some of the former athletes listed above, but he has also hosted day-time television (Good Morning America) and game shows (Pyramid).
2. Troy Aikman
Troy Aikman is a retired quarterback that spent 12 seasons in the NFL – all of which with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a six-time Pro Bowl player, won three Super Bowl championships, and was the Super Bowl XXVII MVP. He threw for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns.
Upon retiring in 2000, Aikman became the color commentator for the NFL on Fox – a position he held for 20 years. Most recently, in 2022, it was announced that Aikman would become the color commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football – one of the most prestigious NFL media roles.
1. Tony Romo
Speaking of Dallas Cowboys’ quarterbacks-turned-sportscasters, let’s not forget about the man himself, Tony Romo. He spent 13 seasons with the Cowboys, was selected to four Pro Bowls, and finished his career with 34,183 yards, 248 touchdowns, and a 78-49 record as a starter.
Romo was hired by CBS Sports as a color commentator when Phil Simms was moved from the booth to the studio. Although he received criticism at first, he has since been named a ‘genius of football commentary’ for his ability to predict plays – putting his extensive knowledge to use.
Sports Commentators Enhance the Experience at Home
Whether you’re watching the pre-game show, enjoying the live game, following the narratives during the post-game show, or catching the highlights the following day on ESPN, sports commentators and analysts are known for enhancing the experience for sports fans at home.
And with the contract Brady signed one month ago, the future is bright for athletes interested in becoming sports commentators post-retirement. In fact, some athletes – such as Draymond Green, CJ McCollum, and Patrick Beverley – are becoming analysts before deciding to retire.
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The former athletes listed above have forged successful careers as sports commentators and helped pave the way for the new generation of analysts. It’ll be interesting to see how networks and broadcasts change with all the new talent they’re bringing in – we’re excited for the potential!
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