What has been widely speculated for weeks became official on Wednesday morning. Drew Brees is out of the booth for Notre Dame games on NBC. Pete Bevacqua, NBC Sports chairman, confirmed what the NY Post initially reported in May.
“The unbelievable busyness of an NFL career and then really not taking a break at all and launching right in with us with both Notre Dame football and the NFL, it was certainly an around-the-clock assignment,” Bevacqua said. “This was definitely a lifestyle choice for him, which is totally understandable.”Pete Bevacqua, NBC Sports chairman – Associated Press
Brees was with NBC for just one season after completing a 20-year NFL career that will undoubtedly earn him a spot in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Brees didn’t take any time away from the game between playing and announcing, which NBC referenced as the primary driver for Brees not returning in 2022. Whether or not that is true or just a convenient excuse given by NBC doesn’t really matter. What matters for Notre Dame fans is there will be a new color commentator for Notre Dame games on NBC this fall – the third in three seasons.
Tony Dungy spent a season in the booth for NBC in 2020, replacing the utterly awful Doug Flutie, but his stint also lasted just a season. Brees replaced Dungy last year, and I thought he did a solid job, given it was his first experience calling games after his illustrious career.
Reports surfaced last week, also from the NY Post, that NBC was considering a combination of Jason Garrett and Jac Collinsworth to replace Brees and play by play announcer Mike Tirico. He was given the network’s NFL games to call this season. Garrett has been calling games for NBC’s USFL coverage. You are forgiven if you haven’t heard him call a game yet because, really, who is watching the USFL?
With just under three months until the start of the season, NBC’s options are limited, so the reports of Garrett, who NBC currently employs, make logical sense even if the idea of one of the most boring and underachieving NFL head coaches of the last 20 years doesn’t get any Notre Dame fans overly excited about potentially listening to him this fall.