NFL free agency isn’t just for players, you know.
Legendary play-by-play man Al Michaels, the longtime voice of NBC’s Sunday Night Football, is moving to Amazon Prime for the streaming service’s exclusive Thursday Night Football rights effective this season. Mike Tirico will be his successor and work with Cris Collinsworth, whereas Michaels’ broadcast partner on Amazon will be ESPN college football lead analyst Kirk Herbstreit.
“Over the last 36 seasons, I’ve been at the mic describing some of the most magical moments and games in NFL history and am looking forward to many more,” said Michaels in a press release. “This is the new frontier in sports television and to be a part of the launch at this point in my career is both exciting and stimulating. The NFL is the king of unscripted television and I’m looking forward to joining Kirk to bring fans more dramatic episodes on Thursday nights this fall.”
Well I suppose Al can have the unique honor of having called Thursday, Sunday, and Monday Night Football in his distinguished broadcasting career.
This news isn’t a major surprise when you consider Michaels’ contract with NBC was up and he’s 77 years old. Tirico has largely been billed as the heir apparent to Al on the NFL’s staple primetime broadcast since he left ESPN for NBC in 2016. This will take Michaels off the Super Bowl rotation but he’s called 11 of those games — unfortunately two of them are ones Seattle Seahawks fans would like to forget — so I think he’ll be content with that.
It’s been a whirlwind offseason for broadcasters changing scenery. Michele Tafoya retired from sideline reporting to venture into politics, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman both left FOX to be the new Monday Night Football team on ESPN, while Brian Griese departed ESPN to be a quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
No word yet on whether or not Marshawn Lynch will be a part of Amazon broadcasts as reported.