It’s that time of year, when sports are at a major lull while we wait for March Madness and MLB Opening Day. The NFL was able to find a way into the news due to reports surfacing that ESPN and NBC are in talks to trade contracts of on-air personalities. The most notably being play by play legend Al Michaels, if he did move over to ESPN, he would take his place behind the mic of Monday Fight Football once again. Al Michaels was the voice of MNF for years before moving over to NBC and making Sunday Night Football the prominent prime time game every week, in doing so, Monday Night Football has spiraled and has had horrible on-air pairings and featuring matchups like the Browns and Jets that don’t move the needle at all.
In this blogger’s opinion, Michaels is the greatest play-by-play announcer in my lifetime and its not even close. While at ABC back in the day, Michaels called the NBA Finals, Super Bowl, World Series and was the iconic voice behind “do you believe in miracles”? from the 1980 Winter Olympics. ESPN is planning to team Michaels with Peyton Manning and create an instant “dream booth” that would catapult ESPN and Monday Night Football back to the must-see prime time game. In addition, it would firmly put the Disney corporation who owns ESPN and ABC, in the rotation to host the Super Bowl. People who are just a couple years younger than me have no recollection of when Al Michaels was the voice of the Super Bowl on ABC. If Michaels was to be traded back to ABC, it wouldn’t be the first time he was traded. Back in 2006, Disney Corporation traded Michaels to NBC for the rights to a cartoon character named “Oswald The Lucky Rabbit”.
The saddest part of this rumor is that Booger McFarland is getting closer and closer to leaving the MNF broadcast. Booger is one of the worst to ever sit behind the microphone and in just two seasons he has given us countless memories. He drew a giant male genitalia on the screen, he suggested that the Bills spike the ball on 4th down instead of kicking a field goal, he cruised around the stadium on the booger mobile, these are some things that I don’t want to lose in my Monday Night broadcasts. I highly doubt we will be entertained to such a level with Michaels and Manning, two guys who know what they are talking about. Booger, like Tony Kornheiser, Jason Witten or Dennis Miller will always hold a special place in my heart.
ESPN has become more of the butt of the joke in recent years with their lack of highlights and more talking heads shoving scorching hot takes down our throat, a move like this would bring some stability back to the network that taught people of my generation a love for sports. The biggest question I had with this rumor is, who would NBC get from ESPN in this deal, potentially some rights to a show or another cartoon character. The fact of the matter is that NBC might be ready to move on from Michaels and give Mike Tirico a chance behind the mic on primetime games on a full-time level. Tirico has been waiting in the wings to take Michaels job since he was brought over from ESPN a few years ago. He has been doing play-by-play for Notre Dame Football, hosting the SNF pre-game show and covering the Horse Racing Triple Crown and Olympics.
I would listen to Al Michaels read the phone book, so anywhere he goes, is going to be must-listen and it brings the “big game voice” that ESPN desperately needs to bring back the audience to Monday Night Football. Hopefully this gets done because I would love to see Michaels and Manning paired together, the only down-side is that it won’t feel the same to watch Cris Collinsworth slide into the Mike Tirico, instead of Al Michaels. Pure electricity.