The NFL nixed NBC’s plan to have Mike Tirico call the network’s five Thursday night football games this year, according to a report from the New York Daily News.
Tirico, the former Monday Night Football play-by-play man, is considered the eventual successor to Al Michaels. Using him on these Thursday night games makes a lot of sense. Tirico’s proven he has the ability to deliver on a primetime stage. Then there’s the issue of doubling Michaels’ workload for five weeks.
With that in mind, NBC Sports execs asked their NFL partners if they could use Tirico instead of Michaels on “TNF.” NBC made the case it was bringing in Tirico, a high caliber, high quality yakker, who was the voice of an NFL primetime package for 10 seasons. And it wasn’t like the NFL’s broadcast division wasn’t familiar with Tirico’s work.
Still, the NFL wasn’t impressed, sources said, and nixed the Tirico option.
NBC Sports did not confirm or deny this version of events to the Daily News. The NFL told the newspaper that they “like the idea of having the same booth announcers from Sunday night and Sunday afternoon to carry over to Thursday.”
While the value of having a network’s No. 1 team behind the microphones is understandable, the argument could be made that the drop between Michaels and Tirico is much smaller than the gulf between the No. 1 and 2 teams at CBS and Fox.
This would seem to be a tough break for Tirico — and Michaels too, if he was on board with the plan. Both are consummate pros, however, so we probably won’t get much hint of sour grapes if they are present.