Drew Brees promised to be an impartial analyst in his first season on NBC, with one exception: Notre Dame’s Sept. 18 home game against Purdue, Brees’ alma mater.
"Don’t think I didn’t see that on the schedule right away," he said, laughing, on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday to introduce him as NBC’s new Notre Dame game analyst and NFL studio analyst.
Brees, 42, announced his retirement as a player on Sunday and on Monday confirmed he would make the transition to broadcasting, something he said he began thinking seriously about over the last two years or so.
He said he expected he would sense when it was time to move on from the NFL, "and I felt it was time."
"I am as excited to be in the booth with Mike Tirico as I was throwing passes to Michael Thomas (for the Saints) on Sunday, and I’m dead serious when I say that," he said.
Brees will work a variety of events, including the Olympics, and could be a candidate someday to succeed Cris Collinsworth, 62, in the Sunday night booth.
"Cris remains among the best to have ever done it, and the plan is to have him in that chair for a long time," said Sam Flood, NBC Sports’ executive producer. "So the opportunity down the road is not something we’re looking at right now."
Said Brees, "As far as what the future holds, I have no idea. But I do know I am part of the best team in the business with NBC, with one of the very best play-by-play guys in the business in Mike Tirico, and others who will be great mentors for me."
Brees is aware that retiring NFL quarterbacks-turned-analysts now are compared to CBS’ Tony Romo. But he said he will be true to his own personality.
"I think [Romo] very quickly showed football fans everywhere just the way an NFL quarterback can see and process the game, and it’s obviously much different than what they’ve seen or heard before," Brees said.
"Obviously, he’s had a ton of success. Tony has his own style and I think the best piece of advice I’ve gotten so far with stepping into this business and stepping into the booth is just to be yourself. And I think that’s exactly what Tony’s done.
"I think if you look at all the great broadcasters, from Cris Collinsworth to Troy Aikman to Jon Gruden to all the guys from history, everybody had their own style. John Madden. You certainly want the fans to get a glimpse into the way you see and process the game, but also your love and passion for the game. I think that’s what was so intriguing about making this transition for me.
"I want them to walk away from the game after listening to me talk about it saying, ‘Man, I know a lot more about the game now, or a lot more about that play or that team. I have a new appreciation for it and also feel that it was very entertaining.’"