Drew Brees has retired from football. He had his choice of cushy broadcasting jobs and decided to join NBC as a studio analyst and call Notre Dame games. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post told Colin Cowherd that he expects Brees, along with Mike Tirico, to eventually take over for Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in NBC's Sunday Night Football booth.
How does he get there, though? Cris Collinsworth is obviously a football guy, but he worked Wimbledon and the Olympics and hosted a Guinness World Records show, in addition to doing color commentary during the 1992 Notre Dame season for NBC. If Brees wants the big job and NBC wants him to have it, they need a guy with mainstream appeal. Maybe you get to skip all that if you were the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, but not the New Orleans Saints.
So Brees has gone on a mainstream humanization tour. He's not just a football player. He's a man with a family. Not a reality-show kind of family, but one he can tell fun anecdotes about during broadcasts.
Last week Brees went on the TODAY Show and everyone was very excited. This week it was Ellen.
The Brees children were obviously very important in the quarterback's decision. They told him not to retire last year. They put in the work with Tom Brady. They told him to retire this year. They made the announcement. They're probably the ones pulling the strings.
And if they're the ones telling him to get out there and get some reps on live television, they're making the right call. Drew Brees was one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL for two decades, but what do we really know about him besides he knows how to get a good night's sleep when he's suffering from cold symptoms?
Brees broadening his horizons is as important for NBC as it is Brees. If you don't have a solid plan you end up like ESPN, shuffling guys in and out of the Monday Night Football booth, unable to get a marquee name to put on the marquee. Mike Tirico and Drew Brees could be a formidable broadcasting duo by the time Super Bowl LX rolls around. Tirico is ready now, but Brees has a lot of work to do. He seems to be off to a good start.