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NBC's Drew Brees draws criticism for playoff debut in broadcast booth

Part of Brees' development as an analyst involves simplifying football speak for fansGETTY IMAGES

There have been "rumblings for a long time that Amazon had some hesitation" about featuring Drew Brees heavily when the "TNF" package transitions to streaming only next season, and Saturday's Raiders-Bengals telecast on NBC "did not help," according to Andrew Marchand of the N.Y. POST. Before Saturday, "there had been a feeling" that Brees and Fox' Troy Aikman "could potentially split the Amazon games." But on Saturday afternoon, Brees "lacked broadcasting instincts." He "needs to move away from speaking football instead of English" which is a "common issue for NFL analysts." Brees also "needs to speak clearer so his good points aren’t lost." Marchand: "Stick to one thought at a time." The end of the game "would figure to be Brees’ time, yet he was strangely silent." On a 3rd-and-17 conversion from Raiders QB Derek Carr to TE Darren Waller that was thrown in a tight window, Brees had "nothing to say initially." When he "finally commented, he said, 'unbelievable' four times." Brees then "waffled on if Carr should have spiked the ball on first down with 29 seconds left" (N.Y. POST, 1/17).

NO WHISTLE WHILE YOU WORK: THE ATHLETIC's Richard Deitsch notes one "very rough stretch" for Brees came on the Bengals' controversial second-quarter touchdown when a whistle was blown during the play. During the play and ensuing replay, viewers "never heard anything from Brees." Broadcast partner Mike Tirico "carried everything all the way to commercial break." As he concludes his first year with NBC, Brees is "not someone I’d opt for yet on a No. 1 broadcast team, which obviously is a factor at NBC as they contemplate what comes next in a post-Al Michaels universe." Deitsch: "Brees possesses a wealth of football knowledge, he’s well-liked, and he’s clearly invested in broadcasting at this point given that he’s doing Notre Dame games and didn’t want just an NFL gig. He can certainly get better. ... The disadvantage for Brees working at NBC is that he can’t learn on the job as a No. 3 or No. 4 NFL analyst the way he could at CBS or Fox" (THEATHLETIC.com, 1/18).

NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME: SI.com's Jimmy Traina wrote Brees was "not ready for the stage." It was not that Brees "was bad." He just brought "nothing to the table." He did not give the viewer "any sense that he was calling a playoff game." He "completely whiffed on breaking down several horrible calls by the officials" and just did not "offer any in-depth analysis throughout the game." Play-by-play voice Mike Tirico did "all the heavy lifting" while Brees remained silent during "some of the biggest moments of the game." Traina: "If you’re NBC, you have to believe Brees will improve over time. But if you’re NBC, you should also see that improvement before giving Brees a playoff game and exposing him to 25-30 million viewers instead of the 2-3 million people who watch Notre Dame games" (SI.com, 1/17).

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