The NFL TV announcing world endured a seismic shift in the offseason, which leaves Drew Brees possibly in position for a prime spot on Fox.
Who announces these games is a big deal. The primetime games are the most-watched TV programming of the year. They’re far more popular than normal scripted programming.
Drew Brees, the NFL record holder and former New Orleans Saints quarterback, could be swapping NBC for Fox this fall. That’s according to the New York Post, which reported that Brees is in the mix to become Fox’s top game analyst.
The TV scramble started when ESPN put some more oomph in its Monday Night Football coverage. The network hired former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and Joe Buck from Fox. The two had been paired together and working on Fox’s NFL coverage for two decades.
So that left Fox with two big holes in its coverage of Sunday afternoon games and its window for Thursday contests.
The New York Post said the leading contender for Fox’s top analyst is Greg Olsen. Like Brees, Olsen retired after the 2020 season. The former first-round draft pick for Chicago was known most for his years spent playing tight end with Carolina. He worked for Fox last fall, partnering with Kevin Burkhardt. Fox elevated Burkhardt to its top play-by-play announcer. Chatter suggests Olsen will stick with his partner,
Meanwhile, Drew Brees pulled double duty for NBC last fall. He worked Notre Dame games. NBC has the exclusive rights to the Fighting Irish home games. And although Brees is a Texan and has no ties to Notre Dame, he did star for Purdue. So he knows football in Indiana.
NBC also used Brees in its studio for Sunday night football coverage. And he also was an analyst for some NFL games. NBC extended Cris Collinsworth’s contract as an analyst for its Sunday night telecast. NBC also announced last week that Mike Tirico would be its top play-by-play announcer for Sunday Night Football. He’ll replace Al Michaels. Melissa Stark will handle sideline reporting, replacing Michele Tafoya.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime is taking over coverage of Thursday Night Football. Amazon hired Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN’s long-time top college football analyst, for its telecasts. Herbstreit also will continue his ESPN assignments.
CBS kept its top team intact. Jim Nantz will stick with former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
Remember how we said these NFL games are the most-watched TV programming of the year? In 2021, the top seven most-watched primetime telecasts were NFL games. The Equalizer, which ran after last year’s Super Bowl, ranked eighth. Notice a trend? Shows that ranked 10th through 14th were NFL games. The college football semifinal games ranked 15th and 16th. NFL games filled out 17 through 19. You can check out the list here. Sports rules the airwaves, so who calls the games is a very important decision.