National Football League
Tom Brady on Belichick, Patriots career, NFL on FOX job: 'I don't want to let anyone down'
National Football League

Tom Brady on Belichick, Patriots career, NFL on FOX job: 'I don't want to let anyone down'

Published Jun. 19, 2024 6:27 p.m. ET

What did Tom Brady miss most during the 2023 NFL season, his first year away from football in his adult life?

The structure and routine of preparing for a game each week, the newest NFL on FOX analyst told Colin Cowherd on "The Herd" Wednesday.

Fortunately for Brady, he's about to get some of that back.

"I believe that broadcasting at FOX this year for the first time will give me a lot more structure like I'm used to." Brady said. "And I really actually will look forward to that."


Brady also said he expects nervousness to set in before his debut on FOX Sports' lead NFL broadcast team — alongside Kevin Burkhardt, Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldo — when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 of the 2024 season. That would be par for the course, he explained, because he "always had nerves" before every game of his legendary NFL career where he won seven Super Bowls, five Super Bowl MVPs, three NFL MVPs and holds virtually every major passing record, making him widely considered the greatest football player of all time.

"The outcomes weren't guaranteed for any of us," Brady said. "You never really know how sports are going to go, which is why we all tune in. We tune in because the outcomes are very unexpected. … The only way that I knew how to combat the nerves and the anxiousness of the game was to prepare."

Tom Brady on how a QB prepares for a game

Brady got his first taste of a live football broadcast in Sunday's UFL Championship Game alongside Curt Menefee and Joel Klatt, and has been rehearsing using archive game footage in the FOX Sports studios in Los Angeles recently. 

Brady, ever the perfectionist, said he is pushing himself like he did as a quarterback.

"It's almost like when I was a player, I never felt like I did things the right way," Brady explained. "There were games where I'd go in [to the locker room] afterward and think, 'God, I'm the worst quarterback in the NFL.' Like, why would they even want me to play quarterback for this team? And I'm sure I'm going to feel that way here at FOX where I finish a game and I go, 'God, did I even give them what they wanted? It's a very challenging thing in your mind."

Brady thinks the biggest factor in his success as a broadcaster will come down to his preparation.

"Did I feel like I was prepared?" Brady said. "Did I feel like our crew was prepared? Did I give them the best over the course of the week so that we could give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful for the fans? Because really, the game is the show. We're there to add our take on it and our analysis. But it's also, did we feel like we added to the broadcast? 

Tom Brady on covering UFL Championship and preparing for a broadcast

"From my standpoint, I'm gonna work as hard as I can in the process of it to make sure I do deliver, because I don't want to let anyone down. I don't want to let the people at FOX here down, and I certainly don't want to let the great NFL fans down either. … [How am I] working on the things that are actually going to add to the broadcast rather than just working on things to work on them that will actually never come up?"

One of the major storylines in Brady's first year as a broadcaster centers on one of his closest peers from the gridiron prior to his retirement who has since taken over as the oldest player on an active NFL roster — 40-year-old New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. 

The Jets' playoff hopes were dashed last year when, on just his fourth snap with his new team, Rodgers tore his Achilles while being sacked. The devastating blow only validated questions about New York's offensive line, which were addressed this past offseason with the addition of veterans Tyron Smith, John Simpson and Morgan Moses, as well as rookie Olu Fashnau, the team's first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.  

Cowherd, though, still has concerns Rodgers could be bogged down by more inconsistent line play, which Brady understands.

"I don't think you can ever make a bad O-line good," Brady said. "Over the course of my career — I always say this — I believe I played with the best offensive line coach in the history of the NFL in [longtime New England Patriots assistant coach] Dante Scarnecchia. Regardless of who we [acquired], we always pieced together a unit that played really well together. … So much of great O-line play is a great O-line coach."

Brady on the Jets' keys for a successful 2024

Brady believes one of the biggest reasons NFL teams usually do not have the sustained success that his Patriots have had is because they are not coached as hard as his Patriots teams famously were under Bill Belichick & Co. Brady calls it one of his biggest pet peeves about the modern NFL.

"One of the great things in my experience with the Patriots was that every player was coached," Brady said. "Even if you were on the practice squad, even if the scout team offense was out there, Dante Scarnecchia was coaching the scout team offensive line as if it was a starting offensive line. And I think a lot of coaches [say], 'Hey, I'll just coach the starter, maybe a few backups' as opposed to, 'I'm gonna coach every single position.' So, when people go down, we're going to fill those guys in, and they're going to just step in and play a great role for us, because they're gonna know all the calls, they're gonna know the timing, they're gonna know the precision, they're gonna know exactly what we want to do on every play."

It's why Brady said he was less than thrilled that the NFL's most recent collective bargaining agreement further limited practice time.

"I think there's a lot of — because we don't have as much time on task — there's a lot less time for us to develop the techniques and fundamentals that these players need to be successful," Brady said. "So, they go to the outside, they look for coaches in the offseason to develop some of those things. Some of it works — it may work for an individual — but at the same time, football is a team sport."

Brady noted that Belichick's intensity at practice was a major source of confidence for his players, including Brady himself.

Tom Brady dives into playing under Bill Belichick

"I think that's where Bill was actually so great," Brady said. "And no one saw him in those moments like we did in Saturday night. We were so prepared. And so focused, we were the opposite of tight. Really, we were always relaxed. Because we had the answers to the test. … Most coaches would just say, ‘Just run the play. Whatever. If they get lucky and call [the defensive counter play] the same time, one for them.’ 

"That's not how I played, because that one play could mean everything. So I would say, 'No, no, no, if it's a 5% chance this could happen, what should I do if it happens, so we're all on the same page? So I would tell the line 'OK, if this guy's blitzing, I'm gonna check to this play called Wolf or called Beetle or called Python, whatever we want to call it. This is what I'm gonna do.'"

That level of meticulous preparation worked throughout Brady's legendary 23-year NFL career. Now, he's training for a very different task, though the subject matter couldn't be more familiar. His first test is Sept. 8 in Cleveland (4:25 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports App).

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