Al Michaels tears up ‘appalling’ NFL Thursday night package
When it comes to the NFL viewing experience, one of the most significant changes of the 2022 season was the redesign of broadcast booths that continued.
In a move reminiscent of NFL player free agency, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman ultimately remained arm in arm, but moved to ESPN for Monday night football. While that took some significant luster off those late afternoon games on FOX, the biggest adjustment for fans was – by far – seeing the legendary Al Michaels leave NBC Sunday night football be the face of Amazon Thursday night football in the first season of his new contract with the NFL.
To say that the games started badly and continued to stay that way, except for a few games like the “Mayfield Miracle”, would be a colossal understatement.
Al Michaels would be the first to tell you, not only thinking about the season as a whole but also in real time – often in extremely relevant ways.
“I think I’m on point in my life and my career, having watched the sport since I was 6 years old, I feel what the crowd feels. The Denver-Indianapolis game [in] Week 4 was a terrible game. No other way to describe it. None touched. In fact, at one point in the game, I said to Kirk [Herbstreit], ‘Is it possible that this game is so bad that it’s actually good?’ He had never heard that from a partner and said, “No!”
Al Michaels looks back on his 1st season with Amazon Prime (H/T New York Post)
That last part of the quote was something that sports fans regularly said out loud to their friends in order to convince themselves that the game they were watching was actually worth watching.
It was almost as if Michaels was expecting a certain deal when announcing sidekick Kirk Herbstreit, who wasted no time in outright disagreement.
Al Michaels on the Amazon NFL package: ‘You just can’t oversell something’
During that same Broncos-Colts game, Michaels wasn’t even surprised when an overhead camera showed people leaving the stadium during a game that had just ended in overtime.
“Kirk said, ‘I can’t believe it’s overtime and they’re leaving.’ I said they’ve seen enough. Sometimes you just have to beat the traffic. So, listen, was that sarcastic? I guess, in a way. But you can’t tell me that didn’t reflect not the feelings of a lot of people, probably the majority of people watching this game… I try to echo the feelings of what the fan feels because I’m a fan.
In addition to the sheer entertainment value the Michaels franchise brings to the table, the benefit of calling an honest game through a fan’s lens is that it has seemingly received nothing but unwavering support. from Amazon for his “sarcastic” comments.
As Michaels said, “You just can’t oversell something. Do you want me to sell you a 20-year-old Mazda? That’s what you’re asking me to do. I can’t sell you a used car.
The next moment in particular regarding the Rams PA announcer constantly pumping “Rams House!” in a stadium that has been anything but ‘Rams House’ was a prime example of Michaels speaking candidly for the viewer once again, as the crowd was visibly favored by the Raiders.
Only Al Michaels would come up with something like “it’s kinda like their Airbnb” in reference to the Raiders fans who are packing the place.
On a related note, and perhaps surprising to those who forgot or didn’t know at first, Al Michaels will triumph return to his familiar seat on NBC to call the Los Angeles Chargers-Jacksonville Jaguars Wild Card game Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET.
Unfortunately, Al’s co-driver will be Tony Dungy and not his old pal Cris Collinsworth. But having Michaels back in the saddle on NBC for a playoff game is a fantastic gift in itself.