The thought of Mike Tirico replacing Al Michaels on Sunday Night Football has been a reality for some years now.
That reality is inching even closer. Michaels, the longtime voice of ‘SNF’ and a mainstay at NBC since 2006, will have a reduced workload this season.
Enter Tirico, who joined NBC in 2016 and is poised to take over arguably the most prolific broadcasting position in sports.
Al Michaels has called ‘Sunday Night Football’ on NBC since 2006
Al Michaels is the signature sports voice for many generations.
From calling the Miracle on Ice at the 1980 Winter Olympics to two decades on Monday Night Football, Al Michaels has done it all. He’s won five Emmys for Outstanding Sports Personality and three National Sportscaster of the Year awards.
Michael even received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Michael entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 after he earned the Pete Rozelle Radio & Television Award.
Since 2006, Michaels has called Sunday Night Football games on NBC. The game has frequently been the highest-rated show on TV in that spot, even beating out dramas like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
Mike Tirico is the heir to the NBC throne
A longtime voice at ESPN who seemingly did everything, Mike Tirico joined NBC Sports in 2016.
With Michaels still doing Sunday Night Football, Tirico has hosted most of NBC’s studio shows. That includes the Olympics, Football Night in America — the ‘SNF’ pregame which also includes the likes of Mike Florio and Peter King — and Stanley Cup coverage.
Tirico has gotten his play-by-play kicks working Notre Dame football games. But with Michaels healthy, Tirico has spent most of his Sundays in the studio.
That is, until this fall.
Mike Tirico just took the next step in replacing Al Michaels
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For the first time since he joined NBC in 2006, Al Michaels will have a lighter workload this fall.
Michaels turns 76 in November. NBC’s Fred Gaudelli said on a recent conference call that given Michaels’ age and other factors — including the coronavirus pandemic and travel — Michaels won’t call a full slate this season.
Instead, Mike Tirico will call 3-5 Sunday Night football games. Tirico’s first game is a Week 3 showdown between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.
Gaudelli, the longtime Sunday Night Football producer, said Michaels would be taking “bye weeks.” The rest of Tirico’s schedule is unknown.
It is not yet known if Tirico will call NBA’s Thanksgiving game — a matchup between Lamar Jackson’s Ravens and James Conner’s Steelers –because Tirico has called that game in recent years.
Rather than the Thanksgiving game including Al Michaels and former NFL receiver Cris Collinsworth, the booth has instead featured Tirico, longtime Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, and former NFL safety Rodney Harrison.
All three are part of the Football Night in America pregame.
Michaels has two years remaining on his ‘SNF’ contract, according to Sports Illustrated.
Mike Tirico’s agent, Sandy Montag, denied a rumor earlier this year that Tirico inked a long-term extension with NBC.