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NBC’s Mike Tirico Booted From NFL Coverage

Image via Zimbio

Image via Zimbio

Mike Tirico left ESPN to work for NBC, and it was widely assumed he’d take on the role as lead announcer for “Thursday Night Football.” It’s what NBC wanted. It’s what Tirico wanted. Heck, it’s potentially what Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth wanted.

But the NFL had other ideas.

“They (Michaels and Collinsworth) are (NBC’s) number one team. So are (CBS’ Jim) Nantz and (Phil) Simms. We like the idea of having the same booth announcers from Sunday night and Sunday afternoon to carry over to Thursday,” Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s VP/Communications, said (h/t Bob Raissman of theNew York Daily News). “We’re hoping for that same magic ‘Sunday Night Football’ has with Al and Cris to carry over to Thursday night.”

To this point, NBC has neither confirmed or denied this report.

“We made an agreement (with the NFL) to use our team of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth on ‘Thursday Night Football,’” was what an NBC Sports spokesman said, per Raissman.

If true, one wonders what role Tirico would have, if he’s not calling games. He will certainly still be involved on Sunday and Thursday nights, but in a lesser capacity than originally anticipated.

He was the voice of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” and did a darn good job in that capacity. In fact, as good as Michaels is at his job, it would be hard to argue Tirico would be a drop off whatsoever.

Making matters even stickier in this scenario is the fact that Michaels and Collinsworth don’t seem keen on the idea of preparing for two games per week.

“In March, NBC Sports boss Mark Lazarus, speaking to reporters at the NFL owners meeting, set the stage for a change, saying both Michaels and Collinsworth were not exactly thrilled about adding more games to their schedules. ‘It’s a full-time job to do one game a week. It’s not just adding a three-hour broadcast. It’s a substantial amount of work,’” Lazarus said at the time. “‘Nobody raised their hand and said ‘I really want to do double the workload.’”

Being that Michaels is a true professional, it’s not likely he’s going to publicly argue with the verdict here.

For NBC, the NFL squashing Mike Tirico on Thursday nights (if true) is a big, albeit temporary, blow.

Tirico joined the network after working the past 25 years for ESPN and could be seen as the eventual replacement for Michaels on “Sunday Night Football” after Michaels’ contract runs out in 2018.

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