AL MICHAELS FORMALLY BACK IN – ON NBC
Iconic broadcaster Al Michaels formalized his broadcast partnership with NBC Sports. The announcement was made yesterday by Peacock sports boss, Pete Bevacqua. Al was first joined at the hip with NBC in 2006 when tapped by longtime gun, Dick Ebersol. Michaels then joined NBC Sports as the web’s play-by-play voice of Sunday Night Football. He continued in a high-level role, becoming among the most revered television play-by-players ever.
I don’t know who dubbed him with the term emeritus, yet the name couldn’t match anyone better. Pick the words. They’ll match accordingly; superb, esteemed or spot on. At 77, it would be lots of laps, tons and accomplishments.
Bevacqua sang Al’s praise immediately: “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history,” adding, “We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”
Referencing Michaels’ name with no mention of Mike Tirico, Al’s successor, is high praise from Bevacqua. Emeritus is like a player having his or her uniform number retired. It could explain why Tirico isn’t even mentioned an iota in the press release. NBC feels that Al is simply invaluable to Comcast as. I’d agree.
Michaels will now officially do a handful of regular season games on NBC this fall and one playoff match. There’s also talk of some baseball on Peacock for the man who did his first World Series 50 years ago with Curt Gowdy. For someone who will be assigned 15 Thursday night games on Amazon Prime, an additional layer on NBC, is a heavy ask. Still Al is up to the task. He will certainly work with aplomb. Or as he says, alacrity.
THURSDAYS ON AMAZON – AL MICHAELS – PLAY-BY-PLAY
Weeks# Date Opponents Starts Sep. 15
2 Sept. 15 Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
3 Sept. 22 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
4 Sept. 29 Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
5 Oct. 6 Indianapolis Colts vs. Denver Broncos
6 Oct. 13 Washington Commanders vs. Chicago Bears
7 Oct. 20 New Orleans Saints vs. Arizona Cardinals
8 Oct. 27 Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9 Nov. 3 Philadelphia Eagles vs. Houston Texans
10 Nov. 10 Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers
11 Nov. 17 Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers
12 Nov. 24 Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots
13 Dec. 1 Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Rams
14 Dec. 8 San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
15 Dec. 15 Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New York Jets
16 Dec. 22 Dallas Cowboys vs. Tennessee Titans
NBC – Sunday Nights, Al Michaels will fill in for newly and fully assigned, Mike Tirico
1 Sept. 8 (Thu) Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Rams
1 Sept. 11 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys
2 Sept. 18 Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
3 Sept. 25 San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos
4 Oct. 2 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5 Oct. 9 Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
6 Oct. 16 Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
7 Oct. 23 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Miami Dolphins
8 Oct. 30 Green Bay Packers vs. Buffalo Bills
9 Nov. 6 Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
10 Nov. 13 Los Angeles Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers
11 Nov. 20 Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
12 Nov. 27 Green Bay Packers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
13 Dec. 4 Indianapolis Colts vs. Dallas Cowboys
14 Dec. 11 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos
15 Dec. 18 New England Patriots vs. Las Vegas Raiders
16 Dec. 25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizona Cardinals
17 Jan. 1 Los Angeles Rams vs. Los Angeles Chargers
18 Jan. 8 TBD
Backups in Bristol
As for the ESPN NFL backups this fall, the versatile Steve Levy will be behind Joe Buck. Louis Riddick, who was hoping for an on-team administrative position and didn’t get it, will work with him. Brian Griese, who left ESPN as part of the Great NFL Broadcast Shuffle of 2022, he’ s going onto to the field as a a QB coach. According to the New York Post, ESPN has asked Dan Orlovsky to do color when when Aikman is away. (ESPN #2 NFL crew; Levy, Riddick and Orlovsky, former NFL QB.)
I don’t know who’s worse behind the microphone? Orlovsky is hysterical and Herbstreit gets paid by the word. What’s America come to? If Herbie listens to Uncle Al a bit, there’s some hope for him. Michaels (left) and the late Pat Summerall have each done, 11 play-by-plays of Super Bowls.
Michaels has also worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series. In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Awards, (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy). (The only two to win all three, hoops, football and baseball are Enberg and Gowdy)
The title bestowed on Michaels, emeritus, is well deserved and clever. I’ve not seen it awarded in sports broadcasting, at least not yet; Athletic Directors and some coaches might. The talented Roy Firestone calls Al, “America’s Sports Announcer.”
Congrats to the NBC PR team for allowing the word emeritus to evolve into the sports media nomenclature.