The expectation is that Drew Brees will retire at the end of the season, Adam Schefter reported on Sunday.
Brees’ post-NFL plans are not a mystery. This offseason, Brees agreed to a deal with NBC that begins after he retires. ESPN also reached out to Brees to fill its ever-changing Monday Night Football booth.
Brees is expected to begin as a game analyst on NBC’s Notre Dame football broadcasts and in the studio on Football Night in America. Ultimately, replacing Cris Collinsworth, 61, in the SNF booth could be the goal.
Though Collinsworth is at worst the third-best NFL color commentator alive — after Tony Romo and Troy Aikman — NBC Sports is known for its proactive approach with high-profile roles. The network signed Mike Tirico in 2016 as the successor to Al Michaels. The expectation is that Tirico will take over as the full-time voice of SNF after the 2022 Super Bowl. Jac Collinsworth is already on NBC’s roster and is a strong candidate for an increased role once Tirico moves up.
While Brees must prove himself as a broadcaster, he comes in already at midfield with a resume few have sniffed. Furthermore, NBC will have opportunities to test Brees in the booth alongside Tirico. NBC will broadcast one of the extra Wild Card games this season, in a deal the network could extend or add to in its upcoming TV negotiations with the NFL.
As for the downside, there’s the Tony Romo factor. For at least the next five years, every well-known player turned analyst will be subject to a Tony Romo comparison. Brees can imagine the feeling, all he has to do is ask a QB what it’s like to be compared to himself on the field.
Romo aside, Brees will have an immediate impact as a broadcaster. He’s respected among all fans and players, he has a presence, and his criticisms won’t be dismissed like they are coming from Domonique Foxworth.
NBC’s studio program could use the boost, as well. While highly-viewed due to its airtime, the studio show has grown dull. Perhaps, just maybe, Brees will enter the studio coming off his second Super Bowl win…