Barrett Brooks Discusses the Transition From Field to Media During “Pizza With the Pros”

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Barrett Brooks discussed his career on and off the field during Pizza With the Pros on Monday, Feb. 28. - Photo / Ashley Craven

Barrett Brooks, the Eagles 1995 second-round draft pick, spoke with Rowan students on Monday, Feb. 28,  about his journey from being a Super Bowl champion to starring on the Eagles post-game show for NBC Sports Philadelphia. For Brooks, climbing both mountain tops became second nature. 

“Whatever I do, I try to do it to the best of my ability,” Brooks said. 

This mentality helped catapult his career, both in media and football. Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, Brooks never thought his future would lead him to professional football. 

“I hated football growing up, I wanted to be Charles Barkley,” Brooks said, citing his mother as the driving factor in him joining the high school football team. 

Throughout college and his early life in the NFL, Brooks did not completely grasp the longevity of an average player and was more concerned with life following retirement. He explained his surprise when discovering the NFL’s pension plan is fulfilled when a player completes just over three seasons. Brooks previously believed he would have to play forever.

“I need a sugar mama when I’m finished playing,” Brooks said through laughter, articulating his desire for a financial security blanket.

According to Barrett Brooks, Sonji Brooks, his wife, is much more of a “hero” than Brooks considers himself to be. Having gone to nursing school and achieved master’s degrees in both nursing education and healthcare administration, Sonji inspired and supported the retired football star. Upon receiving his own MBA in healthcare, the Brooks family opened a nursing and health technology school in Runnemede, New Jersey, offering opportunities for the ever-growing demand of healthcare workers. 

Having played over a decade in the NFL, the game did not leave Brooks’ head as quickly as expected. In 2010, he yearned for the chance to return to the game of football. Much like the students he was speaking to, Brooks was in search of a sports media internship in the Philadelphia area.

Not wanting to be on-camera, Brooks was a producing intern for NFL Films, often attending to the needs of legends such as Sal Paolantonio and Ron Jaworski. In turn, he quickly understood the key to success in his position.

“It doesn’t matter how much you know as an analyst, you have to know how to articulate it,” Brooks said. 

He implored students to understand the nuances of communication, and how the manner in which they say something is as important as what they say, relating the job to that of a messenger.

After spending four years as a content producer for NFL Films, it was Brooks’ sporadic radio show performances that earned him the illustrious call from NBC Sports Philadelphia. Ever since his hiring, Brooks has been a consistent cog in the well-oiled machine that is the Eagles post-game show. He discussed his role amongst other Philadelphia icons.

According to Brooks, Michael Barkan is the glue of the show and keeps everything organized. Ray Didinger is the historic brain of the show, Seth Joyner– who previously talked with students during “Pizza With the Pros”– is another great colleague in the post-game show.

Brooks continued his discussion about his experiences at both the Steelers Super Bowl parade in 2006 and the Eagles Super Bowl parade in 2018. 

“It was like a haze,” Brooks said about both celebrations. He was able to enjoy himself in both moments but was able to bask in it more from an analyst position. Despite covering the team throughout the entire season, being a part of the fans and witnessing their excitement proved to be the most memorable part. 

Pizza with the Pros will return on Monday, March 7, when Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Gregg Murphy speaks to students.

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