Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Not On Board With FOX Signing Tom Brady To Work NFL Games

May 19th, 2022

Tees off on Tom Brady/FOX deal.

A week after it was learned that Tom Brady signed a contract with FOX for well over a third of a billion dollars to call NFL games (and likely do much, much more) the deal is still making waves throughout sports media.

And a legend of sports media threw in his two cents earlier this week. He thinks the FOX/Brady deal will be an epic disaster and become a modern-day New Coke debacle. And that man is the one and only Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Russo took to his SiriusXM Radio show and teed off on the Brady/FOX pact.

Some background: Russo has never been a fan of Brady the celebrity. Or Brady the person. Russo loves Brady the quarterback.

Last year when the Bucs lost to the Rams in the playoffs, Russo raved about how Brady put the Bucs on his back and “fought his ass off” and nearly pulled off one of the greatest playoff comebacks of all times. At the same time, Russo, a Packers fan, killed drama queen quarterback Aaron Rodgers for being a choke artist and stated Rodgers wasn’t in Brady’s league as a clutch quarterback.

So Russo isn’t necessarily a Brady hater, though Russo has said for months he has Brady Fatigue and won’t shed a tear when he does retire.

“I think Brady and the $375 million contract FOX gave him, they are going to rue that day,” Russo began. “I just don’t think that Brady — first off, he doesn’t love the media. He’s not really going to go out there and be that expressive. That TV show he did is not great. I think that is a disaster.

“He doesn’t have a ton of personality that we see. Listen, I know that FOX lost [Troy] Aikman. They lost [Joe] Buck. Brady is the next big thing. I get what they are trying to do. Is Brady worth $375 million? Really? What person is going to put the TV set on to hear Brady do a ballgame? … No one is watching a football game because of the broadcaster. Even Brady. But I just think that Brady, I just don’t think Brady is going to say anything.”

Russo for months has had a hair up his tailpipe thinking Brady sold out Jim Gray, who hosted that lame SiriusXM weekly show with Brady during the football season. Brady should have broken the news of his retirement on his show with Gray rather than running to his Instagram account, Russo believed.

“Is [Brady] going to do the same thing for FOX who is paying him $375 million, put breaking news stories on Instagram? I mean, come on!” Russo said, getting worked up. “I thought that was a horrific — now listen: They are going to say, ‘Who are you? It’s Tom Brady. Blah, blah, blah.’ There isn’t a person in America who is going to put the TV set on, especially after the novelty wears off which will be about a quarter. There is nobody that is going to put the TV set on to hear Tom Brady, because Tom Brady is doing the game. There is not a person on the planet.

“Pay him $375 million? He’s boring off the field now! Who the hell wants to hear Brady’s 30-second press conference after a Tampa loss? Is Brady going to maul a quarterback who deserves to be mauled? Or maul a team? He’s never thrown anybody under the bus! That was a horrific decision by FOX! Horrific.”

Well, Joe won’t (yet) go overboard and call the move “horrific.” If FOX didn’t have the cash, the Murdochs wouldn’t have offered Brady that sort of loot. But Joe fully gets where Russo is coming from. Where are the dynamic personality and pearls of football wisdom that will draw folks in and keep them glued to his every word?

FOX is a multimedia company. They didn’t just hire Brady to work 20-plus weekends a year. Not for that kind of cash. And Joe is convinced there is a business angle(s) for Brady and his many tentacles that are tied in somehow with this contract.

While Russo is correct that aside from very rare announcers (Keith Jackson, John Madden, Dick Vitale), folks do not tune in for announcers, Brady being the face of FOX NFL telecasts will help sell advertisers. Ad buyers aren’t necessarily NFL fans and may not even be sports fans. Brady is an international celebrity. People who are not sports fans know who he is. Just his name and his brand deliver credibility and visibility.

Advertising is, in part, about recognition and visibility. Name anyone in the NFL with a higher profile than Brady? It sure as hell isn’t Kevin Burkhardt.

That’s why broadcast companies can commit so many millions of dollars to announcers. It’s about name recognition and, at the end of the day, selling. Tom Brady’s name and image are gold. And advertisers know it.

Joe can tell you for sure who is very much on board with this move by FOX. That would be Rodger Goodell. And as Russo himself would say, “That’s all you need to know.”

23 Responses to “Chris “Mad Dog” Russo Not On Board With FOX Signing Tom Brady To Work NFL Games”

  1. sasquatch Says:

    First, I don’t give a crap about Brady once he leaves the Bucs… but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who is cut out for broadcasting. He’s competitive and knows the game, but he’s not the most insightful or colorful speaker. I hope they didn’t guarantee him that money.

  2. Bucs Win Says:

    Who cares. The goal is to for the Bucs to win the Super Bowl this year. Nobody gives a £uck who’s calling games on tv.

  3. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    The San Francisco Announcers union just signed maD doG
    russo to their all star commenters team. On the front and back of his smelly hemp and leather jersey is maD doG on the top, #1 in the center and the team initials, SSA underneath.
    Kinda like this:.
    maD doG



    One day, after Brady pounded him in the ratings blasted him with his football insight, Russo wore that stained shirt in front of the mirror and realized the joke was literally on him. The next day he got LAID off and had to move back to San Francisco and go back to his old career as a bath house towel boy.
    Moral of the story: don’t let your big mouth write fat checks your scrawny behind can’t cash.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Tom Brady, by his own admission, has stated that 90% of what he says to the media is ‘circumspect’ (trying to be kind). I think he’ll fit right in with the rest of the media, although he may have to raise that 90% factor some.

  5. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Most current announcers/analysts suck! Especially Aikman/Buck, god awful as a supposed #1 team. Russo has a valid perspective. Our man Tommy is boring as hell talking to the masses. Cookie cutter statements and predictable.

  6. Buczilla Says:

    Aikman is fairly boring and just made a boatload of cash so there is a precedent for boring dudes succeeding.

  7. cavillator Says:

    I think Brady might surprise people. He might actually be entertaining. I’m sure Fox thoroughly vetted him and had a glimpse of his actual personality.

    As far as people not tuning in to hear announcers? If the Bucs play at 1, and Romo calls a game…..any game… 4, I’ll tune in because he’s pretty damn funny at times.

  8. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    I like Romo too

  9. Nigel Smith Says:

    I would add Gene Deckerhoff to your list of announcers. Over here in the UK we love listening to his voice and enthusiasm for the Bucs

  10. Hodad Says:

    Aikman has the personality of a piece of plywood. I thought Romo would suck, but he turned out alright. Brady will do a great job, it’s just what he does. Like Howard Stern, whether you hate him, or love him you’ll tune in. That’s all advertisers care about, you tuning in. People will hang on his every word, because no matter how he says it, you have to respect the fact he knows what he’s talking about. Can’t think of a better X player who’s insight I’d like to get on a game. Pay attention kids, and Joe, you might learn something listening to him.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I expect Brady to present a totally different personality when he is no longer responsible for a team and is out from under the restrictive NFL umbrella.

    Surely, FOX has tested him extensively with focus groups and broader market research. They aren’t fools and aren’t going to pay that sort of money on a whim.

    Brady has a particular popularity with women…..and that gives FOX an opportunity to expand it’s audience base.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I expect Brady to present a totally different personality when he is no longer responsible for a team and is out from under the restrictive NFL umbrella.

    Surely, FOX has tested him extensively with focus groups and broader market research. They aren’t fools and aren’t going to pay that sort of money on a whim.

    Brady has a particular popularity with women…..and that gives FOX an opportunity to expand it’s audience base.

  13. Beeej Says:

    I don’t think his demeanor on press conferences, trying NOT to answer various questions, equates to him dissecting the play calling in a game he’s not involved in. I’d definitely go out of my way to watch a game he was calling. The guy is a walking encyclopedia of football

  14. Allen Lofton Says:

    Since when has Troy Aikman had a Personality

  15. PassingThru Says:

    I’m not into the sports talking heads industry. The talking heads (Screaming Smith, Jemele Hill, Max, Skip, Shannon, etc.) just say controversial crap to rile people up and keep people tuned-in (kind of like CNN & Fox news networks on cable). I get it, if that’s what paid my bills, I’d do that too. Most, if not all of them know better, it’s just an act.

    I never listened to Mad Dog, even when I channel-surfed Sirius. It isn’t worth it. This is just a suggestion, but if you’re that bored, explore a new music genre.

    I think most of us here on JBF like Brady, but have some reservations on whether he’ll be a success. You don’t need Mad Dog to tell you that it’s risky because Tom Brady is too well-mannered, too prepared, too rehearsed, and too bland in his public persona. I’ve heard from someone who dealt with him in New England that he’s naturally a very sincere, nice guy (nothing forced) who has serious obsessive traits when competing.

    I don’t know if that highly cultivated persona can pull it off either. He’s going to have to be brutally honest, and spontaneous for a change. Spontaneous is the polar opposite of Tommy Boy in public.

    In terms of the contract, I also know there might be a tad of professional jealousy. There has been some friction in the past in the broadcast industry between lower-paid folks who do the play-by-play, and the retired jocks/coaches who provide color. The latter get paid a helluva lot more than the play-by-play crowd. Maybe this has spilled over with a radio talking head like Mad Dog, who I’m sure does well, but certainly not to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

  16. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    Oh, yeah, Gene Deckerhoff. Been a while.

  17. SlyPirate Says:

    The reason people like Tony Romo as a broadcaster is his insane football IQ. He often calls the offensive and defensive play before the teams do.

    Can you imagine what TB12 will be doing?

  18. PassingThru Says:

    The audience likes Romo for his football IQ and his enthusiasm, plus he borders on being goofy. People like their commentators to be goofy, like Don Meredith, John Madden, Terry Bradshaw, or the Mannings. Brady has yet to master the art of being goofy on a spontaneous basis. If he can nail that, and stop worrying about being likable, he’ll be fine.

  19. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Sasquatch has some underlying resentment against Brady. This is a general assessment, not just about the broadcasting angle. You were highly upset that Brady would want to have any input as to who would be protecting him at LG. No reports have suggest that he does, but who cares. Brady and Rodgers are made men in this league. Deal with it! They’ve more than earned the right to have some say in a team’s decisions on some things.

    You would’ve really hated if Peyton Manning had joined us. Not only did Peyton insist that he would bring his offensive system to Denver, he wanted total autonomy on the offensive side of the ball when it came to calling plays. He also insisted on having his longtime backup, Jim Sorgi, as his backup in Denver. Brady hasn’t requested nearly the autonomy that Peyton wanted in Denver. This board would be set ablaze if Sorgi was a backup on this team when they had a high draft pick that was spent on a QB like Trask. I think Sasquatch prefers we go back to the lost decade. A decade without another SB and relevancy. As a twenty-four year season ticket holder, I’m glad this team is finally competent

  20. ModHairKen Says:

    Jealousy. Such a weak emotion by a ham and egger.

  21. sasquatch Says:

    ^ I have no underlying resentment about Brady, individually. He was my favorite QB when he was in New England and everybody else hated him. I do, however, resent prima donna athletes who think of themselves as bigger than the team. I don’t necessarily think Brady is that, but I sense that many fans would be fine with it if he was. I do resent that. Athletes’ egos are a big part of why I really don’t pay attention to professional sports, except the Bucs.

  22. David Says:

    People actually watch this guy?

  23. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @sadquatch. Fair enough. The cognitive dissonance about what fans think about Brady and what about his teammates think of him is huge. He’s been in the league for 23 years and not one current or former teammate has said anything negative about him. They said he’s a humble and genuine guy. That tells me enough about his character. If he was some douche bag, you would definitely hear about it from his teammates. I hate divas, but he doesn’t seem to be one. The whole Bucs team is pretty selfless, except for maybe Devin White