Kevin Burkhardt talks Tom Brady and Fox’s new NFL booth

One of the beauties of The Clicker is space for more. On Thursday, I wrote a long feature on the universally liked Fox Sports broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt for the paper. I focused on his Bloomfield, N.J. roots and his sense of awe about calling the Super Bowl in February, but I didn’t fully get into everything, so let’s go over some interesting stuff from Burkhardt about the business that didn’t make the story.

Tom Brady

When the current Buccaneers QB goes into broadcasting, Burkhardt will be the most important person to Brady’s success, after Brady.

In May, when Fox announced during an 8 a.m. ET earnings call that Brady would be its future NFL lead game analyst, Burkhardt, who lives on the West Coast, woke up to his phone being on fire.

“I found out about Brady like everyone else,” Burkhardt said. “The morning it broke, I woke up to 200 text messages and a voicemail from my bosses. They said, ‘Call us back, big news dropping this morning.’”

Tom Brady has a seat waiting for him in Fox’s top NFL broadcasting booth whenever he decides to retire for good as a player.
Getty Images

His bosses tried to call him to tell him what was going on before it was announced, but Burkhardt had his phone on silent, so he missed it.

“I was like, ‘Wow, OK, I didn’t see that coming,’” Burkhardt said.

Greg Olsen

After Troy Aikman left Fox, the network searched far and wide for his replacement, with the idea that it had Greg Olsen in reserve. Fox had been recruiting Olsen for a few years and liked what they saw in his rookie season. But it is a big step to go from one full-year season on-air to becoming the Super Bowl analyst. And while Olsen had an excellent college and pro playing career, he is likely not a Hall of Famer, nor a Super Bowl winner or a quarterback. So Fox tried to keep its pursuit of Brady quiet, which left a lot of uncertainty for Olsen; especially when Burkhardt, as The Post reported, got the lead play-by-play job.

FOX Sports play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt, left, with game analyst Greg Olsen, right, prior to an NFL Football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021.
Kevin Burkhardt has known Greg Olsen since the latter was playing in high school, and though the two are destined to not keep broadcasting together, they will be in the same booth for next February’s Super Bowl.

“The process was hard,” said Burkhardt, who called Olsen’s games in high school and counts him as a good friend. “We were just being patient and waiting, to be completely fair. I’m tight with Greg, like, we’re close. We did one year, but as you know, I’ve known him for a long time and we had really good chemistry. I really like working with him. Of course, I was rooting for it to be him.”

It could be a bit awkward with Brady in the on-deck circle

“[Olsen’s] been awesome about it,” Burkhardt said. “He’s been poking fun about it. Who knows what happens in the future? Let’s put ourselves in the history book because there ain’t many people who have [called a Super Bowl.]”

Joe Buck

ESPN announcers Troy Aikman and Joe Buck attend the 2022 ABC Disney Upfront in New York City on May 17, 2022.
After news broke he would be moving to ESPN earlier this year, Joe Buck was quick to tell Burkhardt he had his support to take his spot as Fox’s top NFL play-by-player.

After The Post broke the story that Buck was going to join Aikman at ESPN, Buck texted Burkhardt.

“I hope you get it,” Buck texted, according to Burkhardt. “I’m gone.”

Quick Clicks

The fact that Amazon Prime Video had around 1 million viewers for its first Thursday night game, a preseason matchup featuring the Texans and 49ers, means almost nothing.

The regular season numbers for Amazon are going to be lower for Amazon as compared to the 15 million or 16 million Fox got in the same time slot last year. AdAge reported that Amazon is telling advertisers that it believes it will have 12.5 million viewers for each regular season TNF game. That might end up being a very high estimate as there are TV officials who have doubts that Amazon will even come near 10 million. We’ll see.

The Amazon Prime Video broadcast crew, including Charissa Thompson, left, and former NFL players Ryan Fitzpatrick, center, and Richard Sherman, right, prepare for a preseason NFL football game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Houston Texans Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif.
Amazon estimates that it will draw 12.5 million viewers to each of its Thursday Night Football broadcasts, a projection others in media circles feel is too optimistic.

Whatever it is, audience growth is a process. Talk to us in a year, or five, about ratings. Amazon has Thursdays for more than a decade. Awareness and access will be an issue at the start. I don’t know if it will be in a few years, but audiences take time to adapt. … Last week, John Ourand and I had Aikman and Buck on the pod. Buck said he thinks he won’t do baseball ever again. I don’t see why he would. He broadcast the World Series for nearly a quarter century. There was nothing more to prove. And the difference between baseball and all other sports (NBA and NHL are a bit similar) is that it never ends. That means you have to pay attention at all times during the entire year. It is not digging ditches, but it is more of a job than any of the other sports to cover. … The Big 12 will soon start media rights negotiations with ESPN and Fox Sports to see if there is a deal to be had. This makes sense, because the current Big 12 contract is up in three years, while the Pac 12 ends in two years. The Big 12 can’t let the Pac 12 set the revenue number schools can expect before it does, not with colleges in both conferences likely considering a move to or from one another based on those numbers. The Big 12 needs to be able to provide answers.