1. He’s out. He’s not out. He’s out.
The Drew Brees–NBC saga is finally over after a murky few weeks.
The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported a month ago that Brees would not return to NBC to call Notre Dame football and work on the network’s Sunday Night Football studio show.
Shortly thereafter, Brees sent a bizarre tweet about his up-in-the-air future.
Now, in a new interview with the Associated Press, NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua confirmed that Brees was out at NBC and that “this was definitely a lifestyle choice for [Brees], which is totally understandable.”
There was also speculation that Brees didn’t want to work in a studio anymore and wanted to call games, which wouldn’t be possible at NBC since the network has Cris Collinsworth as its SNF analyst.
Despite all the confusion, it’s clear that Brees’s poor performance calling NBC’s wild-card game between the Raiders and Bengals did him in.
You will never convince me that if Brees generated positive headlines instead of poor reviews across the board, he’d still be with NBC in some capacity.
As I wrote in Traina Thoughts at the time, Brees had a rough broadcast in that wild-card game, but NBC was ultimately to blame because the network had no business giving him such a high-profile assignment when he had never called an NFL game before.
This was a major topic on a recent SI Media Podcast episode with Marchand, who took the stance that Brees had experience because he called Notre Dame football games. My position was that Notre Dame football games aren’t even remotely close to being on the level of NFL games, let alone NFL playoff games.
The difference in visibility and pressure and importance between a Notre Dame–North Carolina football game at 2:30 ET on a Saturday afternoon and an NFL playoff game is enormous.
Notre Dame football games averaged 2.5 million viewers in 2021. That Raiders-Bengals game that Brees called drew 27.7 million viewers. NBC basically called up Brees from Class A ball and made him the starting pitcher in a World Series game. That wasn’t fair.
The problem for Brees with NBC is that the network has just one game a week, and it happens to be the most-watched prime-time show of the year—every year. If Brees worked for CBS or Fox, he could call the third- or fourth-best game each week to get experience and improve on the job.
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It’s hard to believe Brees’s NFL broadcasting career is over, and it shouldn’t be. He deserves another chance somewhere down the line.
2. Kevin Durant got a big thrill out of J.J. Redick and C.J. McCollum teaming up to fluster Stephen A. Smith regarding Russell Westbrook on Tuesday’s First Take.
We, do not, however, approve of Durant’s blatant disrespect for the legendary Chris “Mad Dog” Russo!
3. This is a hell of a quote by Klay Thompson.
4. The Blazers’ Josh Hart confessed on Twitter that he’s a serial AirPods loser.
And here I was feeling like a complete dope because I’m on my third pair!
5. WWE legend John Cena, who has granted more Make-a-Wish requests than anyone, recently came through for a teenage boy with Down syndrome who was able to flee Ukraine.
6. The latest SI Media Podcast features a conversation with The Athletic’s media reporter and former SI writer Richard Deitsch.
Among the topics covered: why it’s become a thing to knock Bill Simmons; is the Greg Olsen–Tom Brady–Fox Sports situation “weird”?; what the Brady–Fox Sports deal is all about; ManningCast copycats; NESN to offer its own streaming service for $29.99 a month; and Al Michaels being named emeritus at NBC Sports.
We also talked about Deitsch’s decision to stop tweeting on Feb. 20 and when he’ll be back on the social media service.
Following Deitsch is the weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment with Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York. Jimmy and Sal break down the surreal Tommy Pham–Joc Pederson–Mike Trout fantasy football controversy, share their thoughts on Derek Jeter joining Twitter and answer listener emails.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: This person came up with the outstanding idea to film people having their first and last drinks at a wedding. The results are exactly what you’d expect.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
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