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Could Brady vs. Manning go from the football field to the broadcast booth?

Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson and The Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Beaton discuss Tom Brady’s gigantic contract with FOX to broadcast games as soon as he hangs up his boots. Could FOX use Brady like ESPN did Peyton Manning? Will the big money thrown at Brady lure Peyton into the booth? And will today’s star NFL quarterbacks call a career a few years earlier knowing they can make big bucks as a broadcaster? Listen to the full conversation on the You Pod to Win the Game podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: I wonder if maybe FOX is sitting there and going, we can kind of turn this guy into a mini-franchise for us somehow, the way ESPN really did with Peyton Manning. I don’t think anyone – in terms of what Peyton has done after his career, I don’t think anyone has improved him more or less off the court than ESPN, have they?

So maybe FOX is part of that deal and treats him like he’s our Peyton. It’s our Peyton. He is our Peyton personality. He’s someone we can grow into a franchise beyond games. And that’s ultimately what this sort of nebulous ambassadorial idea is really about.

ANDREW BEATON: And the other thing I was thinking about with Peyton is that… I have no idea what the different networks have offered her over the years. But it was always clear he was a wanted man in the cabin.

CHARLES ROBINSON: To the right.

ANDREW BEATON: And we have the “Manningcast” last year. And I think it was fabulous for everyone who watched it. Like you said, it really showed his personality. It brought out a lot of the best in him.

But I wonder with now, a 37 and 1/2 million dollar deal on the table, there’s probably only one person who can come close to matching it, maybe surpassing it if the Circumstances are right, and that would be Peyton Manning.

CHARLES ROBINSON: To the right.

ANDREW BEATON: And I don’t know where, what network. But it makes me wonder if at some point it makes him look at his situation and say, maybe I can go to the pits and make a crazy, crazy deal.

CHARLES ROBINSON: I’ll tell you what too. All these elite-level quarterbacks, the guys that kinda high [? IQ ?] note as it is, if you’re not sitting there right now thinking [BLEEP] like, my football career has been great. But, man, I can’t wait to retire.

Realistically, we could see several guys making half a billion dollars in their NFL careers and then going on TV to make another half a billion dollars over the course of, you know, 15, 20 years. It’s gonna be really interesting to see how that sort of dynamic infuses and just– I mean, do you see any guys right now where you’re like, hey– especially these– you know, quarterbacks , I think , are unique.

Because when you get Romo, Manning – I think when Russell Wilson went to – went to the “Manningcast”, you sort of watched them chat about the game while you watched it. And that’s part of what’s fascinating. And then also the general reaction of these individuals to what just happened on the pitch, hearing Tony Romo criticize someone in real time, hearing Russell Wilson – I remember when he was on the “Manningcast”, Russell Wilson say a few things. I’m like, fuck, man, you still gotta go out on a pitch. And you’re kind of tearing some guys apart.

That’s – I think that’s what makes the quarterback unique is that he can not only diagnose things in real time through the eyes of the players that we all want to see. But when they also — when they’re critical, it’s kind of interesting, I mean, whenever Peyton has been critical or emotional in the things he sees, when he sees a dumb play and he puts his head in his hands, it’s good theater for all these guys.

ANDREW BEATON: So you stole the name from my mouth. My answer was going to be Russell Wilson. I mean, he was so good on “Manningcast,” and…

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

ANDREW BEATON: — I think one of the things that really sets good broadcasters and commentators apart from great ones is their willingness to be mean, right?

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah.

ANDREW BEATON: It seems – you know, when you have the broadcaster there, you know, sometimes it just happens. And they all get sugary and…

CHARLES ROBINSON: Alright Alright.

ANDREW BEATON: – stumbling through their words because they know they’re going to have to sit down in a production meeting with the guy again in four weeks. They probably heard what he said. You know, that makes him so tame, so bland.

And when you have a quarterback, who is right there saying, you know, this guy took the wrong road. Or it’s a take you have to do, and he has to go apologize to the quarterback. Or that quarterback missed the read. And they just say that’s how it is, as an observer, it’s so much better.

And I think that’s maybe the biggest question for Brady. Like, in the cabin, can he do that? But we’ve seen Russell Wilson do it. And when I thought of a guy like Russell Wilson doing something like that, the Tom Bradys, the Aaron Rodgers, the Ben Roethlisbergers kind of conditioned us to think that quarterbacks can play forever at this point. And that our standard definition of when they can play in a career is changing.

But I wonder if for some of these elite guys it changes the way they think. Like, you know, Russell Wilson – and just to make up a name – you know, and if he gets a silly offer at 36 or something and says – and he could definitely play for another five years. But, you know, now there’s a really viable alternative where, theoretically, if you’re good enough, popular enough, you post a salary that can basically reflect that.

So it’s not like you’re taking away… taking away what you’re going to earn in absurd NFL salaries. And you can save your brain, save your head, avoid knocks, avoid daily wear and tear. I do not know. I wonder if we’ll see some shocking early retirements.

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