A $375 million contract to call NFL games after he retires, a new season starting and not even a MAGA hat can sink Tom Brady.
In the mother of all monster media contracts, Tom Brady, once and future star quarterback of the NFL, has agreed to a 10 year $375 million contract as a sportscaster for Fox Sports.
Once he is done dominating the football field, that is.
When his playing career ends, Tom Brady will become a lead NFL football analyst for the sports network.
Perhaps the contract is no surprise considering Brady’s long career, his many Super Bowl wins and enduring popularity as a sports-culture icon.
What is surprising is how little controversy the announcement generated and the number of mainstream media outlets still ready to go to bat for Brady, in spite of the MAGA hat he so famously displayed during an interview in 2015.
Tom Brady has also committed a what is considered an unforgivable sin in some circles: Brady has repeatedly said favorable things about Donald Trump at one time or another, calling him, “a friend,” and, “fun to play golf with.”
During the MAGA hat incident, Brady was asked to weigh in on Trump’s chances of winning the election.
“I hope so,” Brady replied. “That would be great.”
At other times, Brady demurred over the question.
“Can I just stay out of this debate?” Brady groaned during a subsequent radio interview. “Donald is a good friend of mine. He’s always been so supportive of me. For the last 15 years, since I judged a beauty pageant for him, which was one of the very first things that I did that I thought was really cool that came along with winning the Super Bowl.”
“He’s always invited me to play golf and I’ve always enjoyed his company,” Brady continued. “I support all my friends in everything they do. I think it’s pretty remarkable what he’s achieved in his life. You’re going from business, kind of an incredible businessman and then a TV star, and then getting into politics. It’s three different career paths. I think that’s pretty remarkable.”
“As Tom Brady retires after seven Super Bowl wins, one question that has nothing to do with football has returned to the headlines,” quipped even The Independent back in February. “How does Tom Brady feel about Donald Trump?”
For every Twitter internet commenter still calling Brady a white supremacist, there are a host of media outlets willing to go to bat for Tom Brady.
“Brady didn’t put the hat in his locker,” NBC News would like to remind readers, pointing out the incident, “happened via Patriots owner Robert Kraft.”
“Brady never went to the White House when Trump was there,” NBC went on, adding, “Brady’s wife has been less circumspect,” and, “she reportedly told Brady to stop talking about politics.”
“Is Tom Brady a Republican? A Democrat? A Proud Boy? A Bernie Bro?” the NBC News author and so many other internet commenters have wondered, picking apart Brady’s public statements over the years. During his long career, Brady has admitted he enjoys following politics.
He also once expressed his “craziest ambition,” of being a U.S. Senator someday. Alternately, an investigation conducted when Brady was 26 revealed he had never even voted.
“He has, like many celebrities, mostly just supported blandly safe causes and charities,” admitted the author Will Leitch for NBC, complaining, “that doesn’t make him brave, and there’s certainly a case to be made that he should wield his considerable power and influence differently.”
“Brady has mostly ignored the trend of the athlete-activist, typified by stars like LeBron James or Megan Rapinoe,” Leith grumbled in a common refrain from progressive media outlets.
“Brady’s ability to enter and exit the debate at his choosing, to shield himself from accountability, is the height of white privilege,” wrote columnist Nancy Armour for USA Today in 2021.
“Are you a republican or a democrat?” 60 Minutes interviewer Steve Kroft asked Tom Brady in June of 2005, long before such a question was considered incendiary.
“I’m actually an independent, and I have been for some time,” Brady answered. “There’s no doubt this world needs a lot of help.”
“You gonna run for office some day?” Kroft followed up. “Something you consider?”
“So much of my attention now is focused on playing ball, and I like to do that,” Brady answered. “And if that chance does come up, and I’m still interested in it, I mean it would be something that I think I could do a decent job at. When you think about things you like to do, you think about things that you could be good at, and that’s one thing I think I could be good at.”
“Whether I do it or not, I don’t know,” Brady added, cagily. “Who does?”
“Anything that really scares you?” Kroft asked Brady near the end of the interview. “Anything that intimidates you?”
“The end of my playing career,” answered Brady, all those many years ago. “Big time. Because I guess I’ve done this for so long. And I know what I feel like in the off-season. That I’m always trying to figure out ways to have a day that’s filled with things I like to do.”
“And when I’m playing football during those seven months out of the year, it’s easy,” Brady added. “I mean, I get up and come here. Not that it’s easy to work hard, not that it’s easy to show up every day and do the job, but you’re focused.”
“You got a goal,” Brady continued. “You got something you’re trying to accomplish. And when it’s done, you don’t have 80,000 people screaming your name.”
“I’ve heard a lot about astronauts who go to the moon and come back, and they’re so depressed, because there’s nothing they can do in their lives that ever can fill ’em the way that that does,” Brady fretted.
During this year’s 2022 NFL schedule, the Brady versus Mahomes rematch game is already ranked the number-one must-watch game of the season. And if this does prove Brady’s last season, it’s nothing but blue skies and golden parachutes for the untouchable Tom Brady, as far as the eye can see.
If all else fails, politics, like football, is a full-contact sport.
(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)