ESPN has plenty of ex-quarterbacks on its roster of NFL analyst, but the Worldwide Leader in sports can’t win in its attempts to hire the quarterback.
Brees, of course, is still playing. In fact, he signed a 2-year, $50 million deal to remain with the New Orleans Saints just a few weeks ago. But ESPN was so committed to his free agent that they were willing to tread water with their Monday Night Football crew until the 41-year-old took off his cleats for good, whether it be in 2021 or 2022.
And then he turned them down, too.
Brees has signed what amounts to a futures contract with NBC as soon as he finishes playing, it was announced Friday.
“Like all NFL fans, we look forward to watching Drew continue his Hall of Fame career this fall, and we are confident his post-playing career will be just as successful,” NBC Sports spokesman Greg Hughes told the New York Post, who broke the story.
ESPN planned to center its MNF crew around the would-be broadcast rookie Brees, a move that worked for CBS and Romo but failed when duplicated by ESPN and Jason Witten.
Instead, Brees will earn reps as the color commentator on NBC’s Notre Dame broadcasts and work the studio on NBC’s Sunday Night games. That’s the same role Mike Tirico has had since he left ESPN for NBC in 2016, and after seven years on the bench he is finally set to replace the 75-year-old Al Michaels as the network’s No. 1 voice in 2023. (NBC is set to air the Super Bowl concluding the 2022 season in Michaels’ home of Los Angeles.)
With no Brees coming aboard, ESPN is going back to the drawing board yet again. Marchand reports the network is debating between any number of its college football talent to replace Joe Tessitore as its signature property’s play-by-play voice — for what it’s worth, Tessitore, his predecessor Sean McDonough and his predecessor Tirico all called college football before being promoted to Monday Night — as well as options both internal and external to replace Booger McFarland in the analyst chair.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.