Tom Brady Going to NFC Would Help Fox and Hurt CBS on Margins

Ryan Glasspiegel
Tom Brady
Tom Brady / Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Tom Brady: Not a Patriot anymore! Even as we've had over an hour to digest the news, it still feels odd to type that. The next part of the story is where he lands -- Bucs? Raiders? Broncos? Mystery team? -- and then the part of the story after that, which our little corner of the internet fixates on, is what this means for the NFL's TV partners.

If Brady stays in the AFC, it doesn't change that much. CBS would still carry a majority of his games -- last year, at the time of the schedule release before any flexing could happen, CBS had nine Pats games. Obviously, there will be an insane amount of demand for his first game with a new team, and if he signs with a franchise that is playing against the Patriots that game will have the programming executives from FOX, CBS, NBC, and ESPN willing to do unspeakable things to land that matchup.

If Brady goes to the NFC, it's a win for Fox, as they'd then have a majority of his games. Fox already has most of the games for the Cowboys, who are far and away the NFL's biggest ratings draw. They also have the Packers, Bears, Giants, and Eagles, who are all traditional viewership grabbers.

CBS wouldn't be totally dead in the water or anything. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson play in the AFC and they are, for the time being, the league's two most ascendant stars. Ben Roethlisberger will be back for the Steelers, who also are a ratings draw. Nonetheless, if Brady goes to an NFC team like the Bucs or Bears, that would be a boon for Fox.