The doubleheaders are behind us; The dramas are still on our minds; A look at past SB Voices

The Networks intensify

david halberstam round profile

In the play-by-play booth, Mike Tirico always does a reliable job, nothing spectacular. He hits the airwaves decently prepared. He also seems to consistently work management, by working hard. Good for him. But if I’m Mike Tirico and had two scoops of ice-cream, I’d honor Al Michaels, who continues to have a star-studded NFL Hall of Famer. The Pro Football HOF has for that matter

Why is it that Tirico got a pair of games, Saturday and Sunday? When NBC assigned Tirico to a weekend doubleheader it wasn’t in the  traditional manner. Curt Gowdy and Lindsey Nelson engaged in acts rarely seen today. Egregious too, you might think? No. But not being considerate to arguably the best Voice ever. I have no idea what went on behind the walls but the decision makes me suspicious.

Meanwhile. Mike’s okay as a voice but no one would say that he’s overpowering. One night after another? Why?

The announcement of the double-twin assignment hit with surprise and anger by long-timers, be they fans and ex-voices like me. How does his season-long analyst Cris Collinsworth take it? He gets one one game and his SNF play-by-player partner Tirico get two. When the announcers were named, I scratched my head.

On Saturday, January 18th, Mike called the Miami-Kansas City game on Peacock owned by NBC. Tirico, Jason Garrett and Kaylee Hartung were on it. Collinsworth was nowhere to be found. Tirico left his yearlong color partner Cris behind to take another gig.

Among the models of class acts, the deceased Dick Enberg told a group of sportscasters, “Never take your on-air chair for certain. You don’t own your seat, you only rent it.”  

By Sunday the 19th in Detroit, the Lions hosted the Rams so Tirico, was given a private charter and joined Collinsworth for the game. Cris obviously lost an opportunity. I guess we now know how Tirico thinks. Is it fair and equitable? if Tirico had any influence in the Michaels decision, I would be disappointed. NBC’s whole production was a puzzle. This too after I was told by a dependable and worthy source that there are no Tony Romo-Jim Nantz issues.

Had Tirico’s seat been vacated for one of those two playoff games, what would Mike have lost? I’d assume that NBC could/would have given Uncle Al a nice way out. 

Better announcer Al or Marty? Please! 

How in broad measure did the broadcast calendar stretch 

2005 – 2024

Joe Buck, (6)  Al Michaels, (11)  Jim Nantz, (7) Kevin Burkhardt (1)

At time of millennium

Dick Enberg, (8), Greg Gumbel, (2) and Frank Gifford (1)

From first Super Bowls 

Curt Gowdy, (7), Ray Scott, (3 full games + first half of first game) Pat Summerall, (12) Jack Buck (1), Jack Whitaker (2nd Half of first game with Scott)


Striking – Never has there been a Black person as an analyst on the Super Bowl. (1967-2024 – 57 Years). Greg Gumbel called play-by-play twice (’01 and ’04).


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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