NFL

Al Michaels wasn’t asked back for his NFL Playoff game, Mike Tirico given two back-to-back overnight; Why?

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Halberstam

More years than not since 1971, Al Michaels has waved the TV sports broadcast flag consistently. In 1967, Curt Gowdy (NBC) and Ray Scott (CBS) did the first Super Bowl in Los Angeles.

Dick Enberg, Pat Summerall, Jim Nantz, Joe Buck, Don Criqui, Dick Stockton. Tim Ryan and a couple others evolved into prominent names throughout America.

No one presided over more prime telecasts than Michaels. For 36 years, he called smoothly over prime-timers, be it on ABC Monday Night Football and later record-breaking Sunday telecasts over NBC’s Sundays. That’s a chunk of time. His profile was noble and kingly. Fans trusted what he said. He was generally unquestionable. It had a seasoning zest to it. Meat and potatoes, no vegetables as he generally practices every day. It’s the way he orders his food. He has an easy tone and a soft flavor. He also keeps his eye on the betting line. It’s well known that football fans engage in betting convent and nowadays it’s become commercially conventional.

When all was said and done, Uncle Al did more to build interest in the NFL games on network television. When he left NBC under turmoil, it spun  into a painful domino. It effected the network sports world, ESPN, Fox, CBS, NBC, NFL network.

Dig deep and discover that Al did much more than NFL play-by-play. He called the World Series with the country’s biggest voice, Curt Gowdy who embraced him when he joined him in the NBC booth in 1972. Michaels was a baseball announcer in Cincinnati and later San Francisco.

Baseball, Olympics, College Ball, Boxing, Kentucky Derby, the NBA Finals, and more. I’ve spelled this out because I believe he was disrespected this post-season.

At 79, he’s still sharp and has lost little sharing stories and delivering pertinent anecdotes. He’s right right on the money, despite having to cope with Kirk Herbstreit’s verbosity. on Amazon.

Al Michaels has built a sense of NFL command. Want evidence? Between ABC and NBC (as I recollect)

1987 – 1993  (ABC-MNF)     Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf

1994 1996                            Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Lynn Swann

1997                                     Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Lesley Visser

1998                                     Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf, Boomer Esiason, Lesley Visser

1999                                     Al Michaels, Boomer Esiason, Lesley Visser

2000 –  2001                         Al Michaels, John Madden, Michele Tafoya

2002                                      Al Michaels, Dan Fouts, Dennis Miller, Melissa Stark, Eric Dickerson

2002                                      Al Michaels, John Madden, Melissa Stark

2003                                      Al Michaels, John Madden, Lisa Guerrero

2006 – 2009 (NBC-SNF)        Al Michaels, John Madden, Michele Tafoya

2009- 2021                             Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya

2022 – 2023                            Al Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit

*****

So, what did NBC do the first weekend of the playoffs? It had Mike Tirico do two games as opposed to one. Al should have been assigned one of the playoff games as he was a year ago. Tirico is okay and well prepared but has little personality and often contrived. His intonation isn’t steady. Al waited too long enough, yet was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was also bestowed with the coveted with the Ford Frick Award of the Baseball of Fame.

On the first Saturday night of the the NFL playoffs, he was in Kansas City and on Sunday in Detroit. Why was his regular excellent analyst Cris Collinsworth not asked to do both games, just one? Two or more NFL games on on one weekend reminds me of the days Curt Gowdy and Lindsey Nelson would do so. Now Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan generally stuff in a couple games on either radio or TV.

For all his football, it was Hockey and the Olympics in 1980, “Do you Believe in Miracles.” It will never never be forgotten. In  1989, it was in San Francisco where the earthquake struck. So he turned a news reporter and helped Peter Jennings. The broadcast recognized him for his extra credits.

Questionable scheduling by NBC?

I wish NBC would have figured it out. This is how it turned out. Not one Michaels for two Tiricos.

Cleveland @ Houston
Saturday – 1/13M
4:30 PM ET
NBC
Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge
*****
Miami @ Kansas City
Saturday – 1/13
8:15 PM ET
Peacock*
Mike Tirico, Jason Garrett
*****
LA Rams @ Detroit
Sunday – 1/14
8:00 PM ET
NBC
Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth

 

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David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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Michael Green
4 months ago

I fear Al has been reminded that to the networks, their broadcasters tend to be just minor cogs in the wheel. And that’s sad.