So, now the NFL is cool with having Mike Tirico replace Al (Exigente) Michaels in NBC’s Thursday and Sunday night booths in order to give the veteran voice “a midseason break.”
The first conclusion to draw from what amounts to the NFL relaxing its hardline stance on approving prime-time broadcasters is this: Expect Tirico to be the voice of NBC’s Thursday Night Football package in 2017.
The other conclusion is this: NFL TV brainiacs had to know it might be challenging for Michaels, 72, to go the distance doing double-duty but still made NBC stick to a contract stating the network must use its No. 1 team, Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, on “TNF” and “SNF.”
(Stephen Cohen/Getty Images)
Now, suddenly, the NFL is “allowing” Tirico to join Collinsworth to work Sunday night’s Green Bay-Washington tilt, Thanksgiving night’s Pittsburgh-Indianapolis telecast, the Kansas City-Denver matchup on Nov. 27, and Giants-Philly on the Dec. 22 edition of “TNF?”
Was Michaels required to deliver a handwritten doctor’s note to Roger Goodell certifying he needed major bed rest before returning to work Thursday Dec. 1 to call Cowboys-Vikings?
It should have never reached the point where a Week 11 switch had to be made. When NBC signed Tirico, who was the voice of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” for 10 seasons, it was widely assumed and reported he would become the vocal cord in the Peacock’s new five game “TNF” package.
That all changed in August when we reported that despite Tirico’s marquee status, the NFL was holding NBC, which paid $250 million for the right to air “TNF” this season, to a clause in its “TNF” contract (inked in February) in which the network agreed to use its No. 1 team on the telecasts.
In August, the NFL said it wanted to maintain continuity and quality by having the No. 1 Sunday afternoon and Sunday night teams work “TNF.”
But there could have been another reason: If the NFL allowed Tirico to replace Michaels from the get-go on “TNF,” CBS suits would have likely asked for the right to switch their No. 1 team, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, off “TNF” to reduce their workload.
Since the Michaels-Tirico shift was made after CBS’ portion of the “TNF” package ended for this season, there was no reason for CBS to be concerned with the move.
Next season could be different. If NBC does push for Tirico to call the “TNF” package, CBS could want the right to make a switch too.
NO DEBATING THIS
Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd should consider suing, figuratively speaking of course, Fox Sports suits for non-support.
In case anyone forgot, the two Gasbgags have a debate show, “Speak For Yourself,” on FS1. Yet watching NFL games on Fox, viewers are left with the impression there’s only one Yap-Flap soiree on FS1, “The Undisputed,” with Skip Bayless, Shannon Sharpe, and Joy Taylor.
The football telecasts are full of promos and commercials — Bayless stars in them — for “The Undisputed.” Whitlock and Cowherd get no such play, leaving little doubt who the favorite sons are at FS1.
IGNORING FAMILY FEUD
On Wednesday’s Knicks pregame show, the fallout over Donald Trump’s win took precedence over the fallout over Phil Jacksons “posse” comments that angered LeBron James, his business associate, Maverick Carter, and Carmelo Anthony.
Knicks Fixer Alan Hahn reported how Stan Van Gundy, who was critical of Trump, turned off “Republicans who buy Pistons tickets,” but he never got into the Jackson thing or Anthony’s reaction: “Sometimes Phil just says things, and he say the first thing that come to mind. And he’s probably in his office right now regretting it.”
The Jax-Melo thing was essential to any “Knicks Fix” report. After all, it was the Knicks star player disagreeing with the team prez. Only on MSG is that not a big story.
COME ON, CRIS
There have been many recent signs the Free World is about to crumble. One is Cris Collinsworth actually taking/wasting time to zing Bill Simmons, who was much better at criticizing ESPN on Twitter than hosting his recently cancelled HBO TV show.
For Collinsworth to get upset over a Simmons critique of his “SNF” work is, well, very un-Collinsworth. Once the man had thick skin. Now, apparently, he’s going all Charmin, especially considering Simmons barely tweaked him.
How darn sad.
Arguably there’s still a free agent on the market that’s as important to Mets fans as Yoenis Cespedes.
That would be SpotsNet New York’s voice of the Mets Gary Cohen.
He still has not signed a new deal but the tea leaves (Lipton) we are reading say inertia is building toward a new multi-year deal for Cohen to return to his partners Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling.
It ain’t exactly Driving Miss Daisy, but there’s this new shtick on NFL football shows, pregame and others, of players doing interviews while driving their cars.
Watching a player talking to a reporter riding shotgun scares me. Some players look distracted, taking their eye off the wheel to look at the reporter. This is kind of dangerous. But what do we know.
NBC presented the latest auto show on its “TNT” pregame. Peter King, schlepping a large cup of coffee, went to Drew Brees’ home in New Orleans early in the morning (it was still dark) to ride to work with the Saints QB. Let me say this: Brees wasn’t exactly bubbly during this chat-on-wheels. And King was not exactly bright-eyed.
Fortunately neither man got car sick.
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DUDE OF THE WEEK: TONY ROMO
For five minutes of class and honesty. When Romo delivered what amounted to a concession speech to the media on Tuesday it marked a seminal moment in the evolution of player-press relations. Romo’s soliloquy was raw, eloquent and emotional. What made it so special, so different, was the finality of his remarks, amounting to him passing the torch to Dak Prescott. Romo is essentially done in Dallas. Now we all know he knows it too.
DWEEB OF THE WEEK: PEPPER JOHNSON
For showing no accountability. The Jets organization does not need another log of embarrassment thrown on the fire. That’s exactly what Johnson, the team’s defensive line coach, did Tuesday during a press conference. Johnson refused to answer any questions about any players or the D-Line, which has underachieved. His exchange with reporters only added to the bizarre nature of this session. Johnson, who is required to speak to the media only three times a year, would not even answer questions on why he refused to talk.
What Pepper Johnson said: “Yes. There’s no questions for me, then I’m not answering any questions.”
What Pepper Johnson meant to say: “You try working with Mo (Wilkerson) and Sheldon (Richardson). It would drive you crazy too.”
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News